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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 Officer's Kepi from 16th Regiment Co. F -  Circa 1861/1863  Price $3400 Now $3000


Stands 3 1/8" high at tilted crown front and 5" high at top of crown, 9 1/4" overall length. Constructed of fine quality dark blue wool, cloth liner with wool fill and 1 1/4" wide brown leather sweat band with no cracks or breaks, solid black tarred brim, brass eagle side buttons, and an original brass regimental Number 16 and Company Letter F. There are a few very small moth nicks on crown and left side of Kepi - balance of exterior blue cloth is excellent. The sewing construction and elements of the hat are strong.

Its has a functional tarred/varnished 1/2" wide thin leather chin strap with two sliding leather adjusting loops. No nicks/loss on edge of hat brim. Interior has a cloth covered (a few tears/gaps) wool filler with a with a light blue stitched quilt like cloth attached to the under side of the paste board crown top.


This kepi is in very fine condition showing some light honest wear.  Reported provenance is the kepi came from the Tronnes collection in South Dakota and was from the 16th New York regiment raised near Potsdam NY. 16th NY organized May 1861 - served for 3 years (1861-1863) and participated in a number of campaigns and battles such as 1st Bull Run, Yorktown, Mechanicsville, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, the Maryland campaign, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville. The regiment mustered out in May 1863 - many soldiers transferred to 121st NY. A great addition to any Civil War collection.


 Vintage Whale Bone Scrimshaw w Lincoln and Eagle

A wonderful example of scrimshaw carved on genuine whale bone showing images of Abraham Lincoln on one side and a spread wing eagle on the other.  The Lincoln image is surrounded by numerous objects such as a cannon ball, ship, train, pistol, and much more. 

This whale bone is about 6 inches long and weighs 1 pound 1 oz.   


The seller is not a scrimshaw expert, but he checked out the item with a recognized expert and long time dealer who said it was absolutely genuine and carved in the late 1960's to early 1970's. This matches information that the carver may have resided in California during that time. 


It is a beautiful display item and as well as a conversation piece. It absolutely guaranteed to be genuine as described.  It has been in a collection for perhaps 25 years and bought from a Civil War collecting family.  


Scrimshaw value has risen over the years.  Price $350

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