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President Jefferson Davis Tobacco Pouch with Autographs / Provenance        $18,000 or Make Offer 


The DAVIS TOBACCO POUCH appears to be a Victorian lady’s draw string purse and is heavily soiled from use. (See image below of typical tobacco pouches of the middle to late 1800's). It may have given to him at some time by his wife, Varina, perhaps when she was finally allowed to start visiting him in prison on May 10 1866. She was given living accommodations at the Fort Monroe VA until his release in May 1867 while her children resided in Savannah. Obviously, the pouch was not manly but perhaps its feminine appearance prevented the guards from stealing it. (Read his prison life summary below)

The Davis group of supporting family documentation protected in plastic covers is nicely arranged in an old tiger maple mirror frame. This collection was probably composed in the 1950’s or 1960’s and consists of the following items:

1)  the heavily soiled tobacco pouch with tassel end draw strings and burgundy ruffled top – similar to ladies hand bags in the 1860’s

2) a hand written and signed note by Davis’s daughter, Margaret Howell Hayes, stating that the pouch  was her father’s for many years *

3) an autograph signature of Varina Davis and written words in her hand “Beauvoir House Missi”

4) a Jefferson Davis signed German National Bank Memphis check dated Nov. 20 1871.

* The Margaret Hayes note states:


Beauvoir Miss / My dear Sir/ I send you a tobacco pouch used for many years by my father Hon. Jefferson Davis also his autograph and my mother’s / with best wishes / yours cordially / Margaret H. Jefferson Davis Hayes”

There is a more modern black metal plaque with gold lettering transcribing the words on the daughter’s note in the display.


Beauvoir House Mississippi above - Margaret H. Jefferson Davis Hayes hand written note concerning the tobacco pouch left

Jefferson Davis (1808 – 1889) was an American politician and plantation owner who served as the President of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865. He was a member of the Democratic Party and represented Mississippi in the US Senate and House of Representatives before the American Civil War. He also served as the United States Secretary of War from 1853 to 1857 under President Franklin Pierce. Davis fought in the Mexican War and was wounded at the Battle of Buena Vista. He married his second wife, Varina Anne Banks Howell, in 1845 and they had 7 children

After the end of the Civil War Davis was captured in Georgia in May 1865, he was accused of treason and imprisoned on May 22 1865 at Fort Monroe in Hampton VA. He was never tried and was released after two years (May 13 1867).  After release his wife Varina assisted him in writing his memoir entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government”, which he completed in 1881. By the late 1880s, he began to encourage reconciliation, telling Southerners to be loyal to the Union. 

Davis and his wife rented his retirement home near Biloxi MS named Beauvoir on the gulf coast in 1877 and he eventually inherited it along with other assets in 1879 from the widow owner. It was sold in 1902 and was used as an old Confederate soldiers home until 1956, then was made into a “White House” with a library and museum to President Davis. During the early 2000’s the home was partially destroyed by two hurricanes but has been rebuilt. However about 40% of its artifacts were lost.

Davis was the only Southern leader shackled in a dungeon and suffered under terribly conditions for the first year of his imprisonment by General Miles – commander of the fort. He refused to apply for a pardon because he said: "I have not repented." In 1978, the United States Congress posthumously restored Davis's citizenship. Eventually U.S. Army physician Lt. Col. John Craven had the shackles removed for health reasons and within a few days of capture the doctor allowed Davis to have a pipe since he had been a lifetime smoker and the doctor observed he had an acute dependency on tobacco.

In the beginning the prison guards would take almost anything Davis touched as trophies and souvenirs. He was not allowed forks or knives (food was precut) - only spoons and napkins which were frequently stolen. A brier-wood pipe was taken. Davis suffered high anxiety while in prison with two guards staying in cell all the times for several months, he could not write his wife till late August, he could not sleep well due the changing of the guards every few hours, he wore poor clothing and had inadequate bedding with a lamp constantly glowing in his cell.

Eventually Davis received a beautiful hand carved meerschaum type pipe (circa 1865) with an egg-shaped bowl clutched in the talons of four carved eagle claws. He used this pipe for most of his prison time. Upon his release from prison the eagle claw pipe was given either to a Sgt. Howard, who was part of the military detachment that captured Davis in GA or to the Ft. Monroe physician, Dr. Craven – the story is still unclear. The pipe today is part of the fort’s museum property.  

Davis's Pipe - Property of Ft. Monroe VA below -Typical tobacco pouches from mid 1800's right

President Davis and Family Landscape.jpg

Image of Jefferson Davis with wife Varina and his daughter Margaret with her three children


Margaret Howell Jefferson Davis Hayes, born in Washington DC, married Joel Addison Hayes Jr. and lived in Memphis Tennessee and Colorado Springs Colorado. She is buried near her father’s family plot in Hollywood Cemetery Richmond VA.

Note: Only Margaret Jefferson Davis Hayes (1855 – 1909) outlived both her parents – the other siblings all died before their father except for Varina Anne Davis (1898) and Margaret Davis. Margaret had four children.

In addition, there is a faded small typed note attached on the back of the oval frame stating:



Also on the back of the frame is a typed statement on card stock perhaps created by Ambler Moncure that says “…the tobacco bag were given to me when Mrs. Davis was living at Bouvoir House and going to New York (city) to supervise the publication of her book. Owned and highly prized by Ambler B. (Brooke?) Moncure, Dinwiddie, Va. Raceland Farm.”


Who was Ambler B. (Brooke) Moncure? He was born in 1868 and died in 1933. He was from Dinwiddie VA and is buried on a famous prewar plantation area (~1000 acres originally) at his home called Raceland that was created by his wife’s family (John M. Wynn). Raceland was the center for horse breeding and racing in the east in the early to middle 1800’s until replaced by Louisville KY.  It was purchased by Ambler’s father, Marshall Moncure (1840 – 1910) in 1883. Marshall was a private in the 9th VA Cavalry. Raceland had both Union and Confederate encampments near or on the property during the latter period of the Civil War. Ambler was raised by a Mammy and played with Negro children of former slaves.

With a Confederate soldier father, Ambler develop a strong interest in Virginia history and ancestry, horse racing and other collectibles including Civil War items and slave garments. He amassed a large collection (thousands) of military and other societal relics which were placed on the third floor of his Raceland home. He call it his private museum. He wrote articles about relics and history for the newspaper Southside Virginia News. With this interest in history, Ambler would have been thrilled to get the tobacco pouch used by  Confederate President Jefferson Davis.  Ambler Moncure was married and had two daughters.

It is unknown how Ambler met Varina Davis and her daughter Margaret Hayes and arranged the transfer of the tobacco pouch to him. But the pouch would have been given to or purchased by Ambler Moncure after Jefferson Davis’s death in 1889 and before the Beauvoir home was sold in 1902.

This tobacco pouch could have been used by Pres. Jefferson Davis while he was incarcerated in Ft. Monroe, but it was certainly used in his ending years after prison in his home in Mississippi. He was released from prison in May 1867 and died in 1889. Per Margaret’s note states the “tobacco pouch was used for many years”.

President Jefferson Davis personal artifacts are rare today -  a great opportunity to own a personal item used on a daily basis by a famous and historical man. Per the consignor, the Jefferson Davis grouping was purchased from Civil War collector Bill Turner in the 1960’s and it was reported that the tobacco bag had been de-accessed from the Richmond White House.

A recently found unrecorded map with handwritten additions and notes detailing the pursuit and capture of Jefferson Davis sold at auction in May 2016 for $15,000. A three piece coin silver coffee set of the Davis’s dated 1887 sold for about $28,600 in June 2013. There is a written speech by J. Davis dated May 17 1860 and presented to the Ladies at the Fair at Bangor currently offered for $12,000.   This tobacco pouch grouping can bought over time with no interest.

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Image of Ambler B. Moncure with wife Rhoda and daughters above - image of Ambler's father, Marshall Moncure 9th VA Cavalry, Co. B - above right

PROOF Jefferson Davis Tobacco Pouch post

Davis Group comes with 16 x 18 inch graphic poster for framing showing the essence of the artifacts and history.

Very Scarce Model 1855 Swallow Tail Artillery Officer Jacket


This coat is a US Model 1855 swallow tail jacket. It is a triple breast style with seven horizontal rows of double gold embroidered piping, and is adorned with a total of 37 Eagle Buttons (27 Front - 1 missing in front & 10 Back), Albert Type General Service GI-94 -  20 mm from G.O. Jan. 20 1854.  The buttons are a mix of either Scovills or Waterbury. All buttons are original to the coat.

The coat also has a pair of M 1855 style epaulettes / scales with red artillery cotton tassels and is marked on the back ”Horstmann Philadelphia”. Each arm cuff has three - 14 mm eagle buttons, GI-94 pattern, sewn to a bright red trim sleeve decoration with gold embroidery.

Early in the war a number of mounted officers preferred this style of swallow tail jackets. The coat design was split in the tail allowing an easier mount and dismount. The coat shows very minimal wear from service. There are no alterations from the original form and design. The lining is 100% present with off white / beige color and is made from padded quilting. There are some sweat stains but no deterioration. This early Civil War Artillery Officer’s is Depot Inspected with a circular light red ink stamp on the lining marked "G. A. Cowles & Co. W.R. & M.P / Inspected at Schuylkill Arsenal”.

The coat reverse has rich, beautiful fancy decorative trim on the tails bordered with gold embroidery, and there are 10 GI-94 type 20 mm eagles buttons. Comes with an adjustable display stand.

A great display of a very scarce Officer’s swallow tail jacket for any Civil War Artillery collection.  Price $3500  On-Hold


Original Civil War Union Soldier Forage Cap from 18th Corps, 3rd Division, 8th Regiment - Artillery Battery w Blue Cloth Corps Badge and White Overlapping Crossed Cannons Sewn on Crown Top -  Circa 1862/1865      Price $4200  ON-HOLD

Cap stands 5 " high at top of tilted crown and 4 1|2 " high at front of crown, 9 1/2" overall length. Constructed of fine quality dark blue wool, brown cloth liner with wool fill and 1 1/2" wide brown leather sweat band showing use but in-tact with no cracks or breaks, solid black tarred brim with a couple of minor use nicks on edge, brass eagle side buttons with letter "A" for artillery, and an original aged brass M 1832 cross cannon and Regiment 8 insignia on the front of cap. There is also a faded blue cloth 18th Corps badge sewn on top of the hat along with a white set of cross cannons sewn on top of corps badge. 


There are a few small moth nicks on the crown and front and right side of cap - balance of exterior dark blue cloth is in excellent condition. The sewing construction and elements of the hat are strong and complete. There is a white maker label glued on the inside of the cap ink printed "M & G" / No. 4". The maker is Thomas Murphy & William Griswold – hatters in NY City from 1862 thru 1865. This maker had contracts with the US Army Ord. Dept for forage hats. Murphy and Griswald Company manufactured 583,000 forage caps from 1862 to 1865. The characteristics of these caps are a larger disc, a flat crescent visor, and a chin strap with the brass buckle attached off center. The 1\2" chin strap is lightly varnished with two sliding leather adjusting loops. No loss on edge of hat brim. The interior has a rich brown cover over wool filler with a with a light beige stitched quilt like cloth attached to the underside of the paste board crown top.

Per the reference book Civil War Corps Badges etc. by Stanley Phillips it is stated that "Enlisted men of the artillery will wear a blue cross with white or metallic crossed cannon. The book also states there is evidence that the US Government only furnished cloth badges to this corps. Metal badges were purchased by the individual officer or soldier.


This artillery forage cap is in very fine condition showing some light honest wear. Original Civil War Federal Forage caps are difficult to find in any condition. A really great addition to any Civil War collection.


On December 24, 1862, the President ordered that the troops in the Department of North Carolina should be organized into a corps and designated as the Eighteenth. These troops were stationed at Newbern, Plymouth, Beaufort, and vicinity. They included Peck's Division, formerly of the Fourth (Peninsular) Corps. Also included were some regiments which had fought under Burnside at Roanoke Island and New Berne. There were also twelve regiments of nine months men-six of them from Massachusetts and six from Pennsylvania whose terms of enlistment expired in the summer of 1863. Some of these nine months regiments had fought creditably at Kinston, Whitehall, and Goldsboro, in December 1862, the same month in which the corps was organized.

In February 1863 the roster showed five divisions commanded respectively by Generals Palmer, Naglee, Ferry, Wessells, and Prince with General J. G. Foster in command of the corps. Ferry's and Naglee's Divisions--containing sixteen regiments--were detached in February, 1863, and ordered to Charleston Harbor where they were attached to the Tenth Corps becoming subsequently a part of that organization.


In June, 1863, the twelve regiments which had been enrolled for nine months only took their departure - their term of service having expired. In place of these losses, the troops of the Seventh Corps were transferred - that organization having been discontinued August 1, 1863. With the Seventh Corps came a valuable accession of veteran material in Getty's Division, formerly of the Ninth Corps. This division had been left in south-eastern Virginia when the Ninth Corps went to the West in the spring of 1863 in the defense of Suffolk against Longstreet's besieging Army.

In April, 1864, the 18th corps was concentrated at Yorktown, preparatory to the spring campaign of the Army of the James. That army was commanded by General Butler, and was composed of the Tenth and Eighteenth Corps. The Eighteenth as organized for this campaign, contained 15,972 officers and men present for duty, including the artillery, which carried 36 guns. It was commanded by William F. Smith, a Sixth Corps general who had fought under McClellan and who later on had achieved distinction through his successful plan of the battles of Chattanooga.

The corps contained three divisions, commanded by Generals Brooks, Weitzel and Hinks, the division of the latter being composed of colored troops. Butler's Army landed at Bermuda Hundred May 6, 1864,--the same day that Grant was fighting in the Wilderness,--and a series of bloody battles immediately followed, the principal one occurring May 16th, at Drewry's Bluff. The campaign was a short one resulting in defeat and Butler withdrew to his original position on the James River, the corps losing in these operations 213 killed, 1,224 wounded and 742 missing; total 2,179.


General Grant then ordered the Eighteenth Corps to reinforce the Army of the Potomac, and on May 27th it moved by transports down the James and up the York River to White House Landing from whence it marched to Cold Harbor. Hinks' Division was left behind, and in its place, two divisions of the Tenth Corps, under General Devens, temporarily attached to the Eighteenth as a third division, moved with General Smith's command - the three divisions being commanded at Cold Harbor by Generals Brooks, Martindale and Devens. In that battle the Eighteenth Corps made a gallant attack on the enemy's entrenchment's but like the various other corps engaged, it was obliged to abandon the assault with heavy loss, its casualties at Cold Harbor amounted to 448 killed, 2365 wounded and 206 missing - total 3,019.

On June 12th General Smith's command withdrew from Cold Harbor, and sailed for Bermuda Hundred arriving there on the 14th. On the following day the Eighteenth Corps advanced to Petersburg and assaulted the works that evening, Hinks' Colored Division gaining a partial success and capturing several pieces of artillery. This was the first time in the war that colored troops to the extent of a brigade were engaged in battle. There is a possibility this forage cap was worn by as black Federal artillery soldier.

After the failure of the assaults on Petersburg the Eighteenth Corps went into position in the trenches and participated in the siege. It held the extreme right of the line at which point the contending armies were nearest each other. The proximity of the enemy's pickets and the incessant firing occasioned large daily losses.

On August 26th the 18th Corps it was relieved by the Tenth Corps and ordered within the defenses of Bermuda Hundred. In the latter part of September it was ordered to the north bank of the James where on the 29th, the First Division (Stannard's) participated in the brilliant and successful assault on Fort Harrison at Chaffin's Farm. At this time, General Stannard commanded the First Division, General Brooks having resigned in July; General Paine had succeeded Hinks in command of the colored (Third) division; and while at Chaffin's Farm, General Weitzel, who had been acting as chief of staff to General Butler, succeeded Ord in command of the corps. The Eighteenth, under Weitzel, was also engaged at the battle of Fair Oaks, October 27, 1864, which was fought on the old battle field of 1862.

On December 3, 1864, the corps was ordered discontinued. The white troops of the Tenth and Eighteenth Corps were organized into one corps, designated as the Twenty-fourth; the colored troops belonging to the Tenth and Eighteenth were organized as another, which was designated the Twenty-fifth. The regiments of the Eighteenth were formed into a division of three brigades, which became Devens' (3d) Division of the Twenty-fourth Corps.

As the Eighteenth Corps was to remain in Virginia with the Army, it is difficult to understand what good reason the War Department could have had for wiping out the honored name under which the corps had fought so long and well.

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