During the Civil War, home crafts like knitting became a way to support soldiers in the field in both the North and the South. This half finished sock was started by the wife of Robert E. Lee, Mary Custis Lee.
This small space was used by Burton Harrison, Personal Secretary to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Harrison was responsible for handling personal and governmental correspondence for Davis, and was a constant figure in the White House of the Confederacy, living just one floor above this office.
Many items of furniture in the White House of the Confederacy hide extra features. This bookcase, or secretary, on display in the library of the White House, doubles as a small writing desk, with a felt writing surface. Tours are offered daily.
Happy #WhiteHouseWednesday and National Dog Day! This table, which was used by Jefferson Davis in the White House of the Confederacy, is adorned with a carved setter dog on the stretchers between the legs. Today the table is on display in the Dining Room, and the little dog watches visitors as they enter the Parlor. Say “hi” to the dog on your next tour of the house.
When the museum first opened in the White House of the Confederacy, each state in the Confederacy had a room dedicated to the artifacts from that state. This is a photograph of the Virginia room, circa 1906. Our curators use these images to track our collection throughout our long history. The White House of the Confederacy is now decorated as the Davises might have known it: as a residence and governmental headquarters.
Despite the fact that so little is known of the original landscaping at the White House of the Confederacy, we do still have two original trees that date to the 1820s. One of them is an Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) that the Museum saved after its main superstructure crashed in Hurricane Isabel, in September 2003. The other is a Live Oak (Quercus virginiana) that hides in the back corner of the garden.
This cannon serves as a reminder that while the White House of the Confederacy was primarily a residence for the Davis family, it also served as a military and governmental headquarters throughout most of the war. The model cannon is a replica of the Civil War ordnance type used by the Richmond Howitzers, and it can be seen atop the fireplace mantle in Jefferson Davis’ office. Tours of the White House offered daily.
Protecting a historic home is an unrelenting task. Here at the American Civil War Museum, the Collections team takes care of both the inside and the outside of the White House of the Confederacy. Our Collections Manager found squatters outside the front of the house during a recent early morning cleaning. We'll wait until these critters clear out before removing the nest, repairing any damage there may be, and trying to prevent future nests. To learn more about the work of preserving the collections, both inside and out, visit ACWM.org/collection.
This is a close-up detail of “The Start,” one of four foxhunting themed, colored lithographs by J. West Giles that are currently on display in the house’s Central Parlor. The lithographs belonged to Lewis Crenshaw, who sold the home to the City of Richmond to be used as the executive mansion when the city became the Confederate capital. He must have liked them, for while the sale of the house included most of the furnishings, he took these prints with him when he moved out.