As the first full year of the conflict neared its end, President Davis responded to a call from his home state Mississippi’s legislature to visit and provide ‘refuge from an Iliad of Woes’. Travelling incognito with just one aide, Davis combined his address in Jackson with a tour of his western military theatre. He inspected the Army of Tennessee north of Chattanooga and the Army of the Mississippi at Vicksburg before returning to Richmond. En route, he issued an edict denouncing Benjamin Butler, the Union General occupying New Orleans, as an ‘enemy of mankind’, and proclaimed that blacks serving in the Union army would henceforth be considered slaves in revolt, and thus liable to execution if captured. The tour began ominously with news of a Union assault on Fredericksburg, and invasion of North Carolina, but ended with news of victory at Fredericksburg, and successes at Galveston, Chickasaw Bluffs and Murfreesboro.
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