Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bibliography & Notes of my Nelson/Davis research

Here are the sources and resources I used to look into the aftermath of the Jefferson C. Davis murder of William "Bull" Nelson on September 29, 1862. I have added a few notes and comments here as well.

Please read that post at this link

This illustration is from Harper's Weekly of October 18, 1862 and is captioned: "The Assassination of General Nelson by General Jefferson C. Davis - sketched by Mr. H. Mosler"  It is courtesy of   I thought it was appropriate to use it in this discussion, but with my first post already being so long, I added it to this entry instead.

Listed below are the theories I found and the sources in which I found them. These sources either cited a specific reason for Davis to go unpunished or included enough reaction to the event that I found it appropriate to include these reactions as possible explanations about how this event played out.

My breakdown of the categories and how often I saw them was (a couple of sources used more than one that fit into the categories I decided to use)
1. Davis's influential friends or individuals helping him: 7 times (5 times Oliver Morton, 2 times Horatio Wright)
2. Nelson's reputation/unpopularity: 5 times (plus 1 other disagreeing with this view)
3. "Matter of honor:" 3 times
4. Buell's command uncertainty/business: 4 times
5. Union need for talent and leadership in the theater: 3 times
6. Davis was honorably acquitted at trial:  1 time. (His obituary mentioned this, but this claim is incorrect. I still feel it is worth mentioning) 


Bobrick, Benson.  Testament: A Soldier's Story of the Civil War, New York, Simon & Schuster,
   2003. Print.

Engle, Stephen Douglas.  Don Carlos Buell: Most Promising of All, Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 1999. Print.

Heidler, David S., ed and Heidler, Jeanne T., ed. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social and Military History, New York, W.W Norton & Company,  2000. Print.

Noe, Kenneth W.  Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle, Lexington, KY, University Press of Kentucky,
     2001. Print.

Street Jr, James, and Editors of Time-Life Books. The Struggle for Tennessee: Tupelo to Stones River, Alexandria, VA, Time-Life Books, 2nd printing, revised 1987. Print. 

Powell, David A "Women and War, Politics and Bedfellows."  Retrieved October 23, 2010 from

Talbott, Tim, "Personality Spotlight: William "Bull" Nelson."  Retrieved October 23, 2010 from

Clark, Donald A. "General Jefferson Columbus Davis, USA" Accessed October 23, 2010,

Clark, Donald A. "General Nelson William Bull USA", Accessed October 23, 2010,

Groom, Winston, "Murder in the Civil War", Accessed October 23, 2010,

Robinson, Bill, "Battlefield Park getting pistol belonging to Gen. Nelson's killer", Accessed October 23, 2010,

Author unknown, "Jefferson C. Davis", Accessed October 23,2010,

Author unknown, "Although not convicted of murder, Davis was passed over for advancement in rank", Accessed October 23, 2010,

Author unknown, "Gen. Jefferson C. Davis Dead", Accessed October 23, 2010,

Author unknown "An encounter between Union generals turns fatal", Accessed October 23, 2010,

Author unknown "Camp Nelson National Cemetery"  United States Department of Veterans' Affairs website. Accessed October 23, 2010, (direct link to the article in .pdf format) or to the website

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