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News / Clark County News

Off Beat: Jefferson Davis wouldn’t like Vancouver residents either

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter
Published: October 1, 2017, 5:11pm

Jefferson Davis probably wouldn’t think much of us either.

Consider the folks with Clark County links who defeated, captured and pretty much evicted the president of the Confederate States of America in 1865.

These days, Davis is in the news because his name is on a couple of stone markers along Interstate 5, between Vancouver and Ridgefield. The markers were placed on the county’s heritage register in 2002.

In a 6:05 p.m. public hearing Tuesday at Vancouver City Hall, members of several local organizations will ask the county to take those monuments off the heritage register. Many have already cited the Confederacy’s connection to slavery; other have noted that Davis has no historical links to this area.

If you did want to establish a link, however, it would be the people from Vancouver who helped bring down Davis and his Confederacy. To be specific, they were from Fort Vancouver.

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, of course, is the most prominent figure, commanding the victorious Union army and accepting Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

But Grant wasn’t the only one, as we wrote in a 2015 story on the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.

Gen. James Wilson, who was assigned to Fort Vancouver in 1860 as a topographical engineer, led a Union cavalry force that chased down the Confederate president.

After fleeing his Richmond White House, Davis was hoping to extend the war until Wilson’s cavalry captured him on May 10, 1865, in Georgia.

Gen. Edward Ord was commander at Fort Vancouver when the war broke out in 1861.

After the war, Ord oversaw Reconstruction activities in Virginia. His headquarters was what might be called the old Davis place … the former Confederate White House.

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.

Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter