Finding of the Last Ditch, 1865


Finding of the Last Ditch, 1865

This illustration of the capture of Confederate President Jefferson Davis served allegorical rather than documentary purposes. The figure of the Union soldier is not merely arresting Davis but, in a show of extreme dominance, apparently preparing to hurl him from a precipice. A knife and money escape Davis' grasp, and by extension that of the Confederacy as well, since the seat of Davis' pants is marked "C.S.A." The cartoon is filled out with a black man celebrating his release from bondage in the background and a devil figure lurking in the foreground. The "last ditch" might have referred to the New York Herald headline that announced, in part, of Davis' capture, "He Fails to Imitate Booth and Die in the Last Ditch. His Ignominious Surrender."

Source: Burgoo Zac, Finding of the Last Ditch, lithograph, Cincinnati, 1865.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.