The Clothes in which Davis Disguised Himself


The Clothes in which Davis Disguised Himself

When Union soldiers captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis -- purportedly wearing his wife's dress and shawl -- on May 10, 1865, Barnum was not the only northerner to make a spectacle of the bizarre event. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton clothed a mannequin in a dress, hoopskirt, and shawl; had photographs taken of it; and distributed the photographs to the press. Newspapers ran sketches of the photo, like the one above (the technology to reproduce photos in newspapers did not yet exist). Later, Stanton claimed to have acquired the actual dress from Davis' wife and held a massive press conference to display it.

Source: The Clothes in which Davis Disguised Himself, Harper's Weekly, June 1865.

Durst Collection, The Graduate Center, City University of New York