A Civil War Biography

George Davis

Davis was born 1 March 1820 at Porter's Neck (known today as Scott's Hill), North Carolina. Davis enrolled at the University of North Carolina when he was just 14 and graduated at the top of the class of 1838. He studied the law and began practicing in Wilmington, North Carolina.

He became active in the Whig party although he did not seek an elected office. He attended the Washington Peace Conference which was held from 7 to 27 February 1861in an attempt to prevent war. After its failure Davis was convinced the only way to protect the South was for the states to secede. When North Carolina did leave the Union Davis was chosen as a delegate to the Confederate Provisional Congress.

He next served in the Confederate Senate being chosen on the 25th ballot in September 1861. Davis was one of North Carolina's strongest nationalists. His nationalist views, however, were unpopular in his state and he failed in his reelection bid in late 1863. On 2 January 1864 Davis was appointed Attorney General replacing Wade Keyes. Davis remained in his cabinet position until 24 April 1865, the last time the Confederate cabinet met.

He, along with other Confederate officials, attempted to flee overseas, but turned himself in at Key West, Florida. Davis was imprisoned at Fort Hamilton for several months. He was pardoned on 1 January 1866 and returned to the practice of law in Wilmington. He was offered a seat on the North Carolina supreme court but turned it down because of financial considerations. Davis died 23 February 1896.

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