White House of the Confederacy

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WHITE HOUSE OF THE CONFEDERACY is a stately Greek revival mansion in Richmond, Virginia, on the brow of steep Shockoe Hill across the wide ravine from old Church Hill. Designed by Robert Mills and built in 1818, it was bought by the City of Richmond on 11 June 1861; it was furnished and presented to the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. When he refused the gift, the Confederate government rented it. As the executive mansion, it was occupied by Davis as his official and private residence until he was forced to leave it by the approaching Union army on 2 April 1865. On 3 April the Union commander Godfrey Weitzel made the mansion his headquarters and entertained a visit from President

Abraham Lincoln the following day. After the federal government returned it to the city in 1870, the mansion was used as a public school.

Despite looting and fires throughout Richmond, the house was left largely intact. In her book Jefferson Davis, A Memoir (1890), Varina Davis, Jefferson Davis's wife, recalls the garden terraced down the steep hillside, the Carrara marble mantelpieces, the great high-ceilinged rooms, and the well staircases. On 12 June 1894 the city deeded the mansion to the Confederate Memorial Literary Society as a memorial to Jefferson Davis. It is now the home of the Museum of the Confederacy.


Collier, Malinda W., ed. White House of the Confederacy: An Illustrated History. Richmond, Va.: Cadmus, 1993.

Collins, Bruce. White Society in the Antebellum South. London and New York: Longman, 1985.

McCardell, John. The Idea of a Southern Nation. New York: Norton, 1979.

Kathleen Bruce / a. r.

See also Civil War ; Confederate States of America ; Richmond ; Richmond Campaigns ; Secession ; Slavery ; South, the: The Antebellum South .