Jefferson C. Davis

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Jefferson C. Davis, commander of the 3rd Division of the Union army here at the Battle of Pea Ridge, was born on March 2, 1828 in Indiana. Davis served as an enlisted volunteer during the Mexican-American war and was commissioned into the 1st Artillery as a second lieutenant in 1848. A first lieutenant at Charleston Harbor, after the fall of Fort Sumter, Davis is promoted to captain, 1st Artillery on May 14, 1861. By early 1862, Davis was the 3rd Division commander of the Army of Southwest Missouri under Samuel Curtis. The Army of the Southwest left St. Louis in January 1862 with the goal of ridding Missouri of the Missouri State Guard under Sterling Price. By mid-February, this Union army crossed into Arkansas close on the heels of the Missouri State Guard. By March 6, the Federals massed here at Pea Ridge, focused on the Telegraph Road at Little Sugar Creek. During the fighting on March 7, Colonel Davis was sent to reinforce Osterhaus at the Leetown battlefield and was instrumental in the Union victory there. Davis also fought in engagements at Booneville, Missouri, and he volunteered to fight during the Perryville Campaign in defense of Cincinnati and Louisville. One incident Davis is notoriously known for occurred in fall of 1862 when, after being publically embarrassed by his superior General William Nelson, Davis lost control and shot Nelson in the heart, although Davis was never charged or convicted. Davis later fought the battles of Stones’ River, Chickamauga, and in the Atlanta, Savannah and Carolinas campaigns. Jefferson Columbus Davis remained in the regular army until his death.