|Jefferson Davis: A Featured Biography|
Born in Kentucky in 1808 and raised in Mississippi, Jefferson Davis graduated from West Point in 1828. Following brief service in Congress and military duty in the war with Mexico, he served as secretary of war (1853-1857) under Franklin Pierce. In that post he oversaw the construction of the new Senate and House wings of the U.S. Capitol. Davis returned to the Senate in 1857, on the eve of the Civil War, and witnessed some of the most dramatic events in Senate history. As talk of secession filled the Senate Chamber, Davis joined the "Committee of Thirteen" to seek compromise and avoid war. When Mississippi left the Union, however, Davis resigned. He bid farewell to the United States Senate on January 21, 1861. A month later, he became president of the Confederacy. Captured by Union troops in 1865, Davis was indicted for treason and imprisoned for two years. He died in New Orleans in 1889.