Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 396
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 396
 
 
  Davis naturally gave his attention to the War Department, of which the Secretary was said to be merely his chief clerk. If the frequently superfluous controversial letters of the Confederate President and Secretary of War be excepted, a study of the papers of Davis, Seddon and Judge Campbell will give one a high idea of their executive talents; indeed any government might be proud of the ability shown in these documents. A certain class of facts if considered alone can make us wonder how it was possible to subjugate the Confederates. And this would certainly have been impossible of accomplishment without great political capacity at the head of the Northern government and a sturdy support of Lincoln by the Northern people.  38
  Lincoln was a man of much greater ability than Davis, yet Davis was a worthy foeman. Davis suffered constantly from ill health which was so persistent and so noised abroad that men were always conjecturing how the government would be carried on in the event of his death. In December, 1864, it was thought that he was suffering from brain disease and would surely die. His form was spare, his face emaciated and he looked older than his years. The cares of the Confederacy weighed heavily upon him. But he had a sweet domestic life and the devotion of a woman of brains and character. Those who like similitudes will recall that Lincoln and Davis each lost a beloved son during the war—“Willie,” at the age of twelve, from an illness; “Joseph,” a little romping boy, died as the result of a fall from a portico to the brick pavement below.  39
  But if Davis had won he would have been a hard master to the vanquished. “Does anyone imagine,” he asked in October, 1864, “that we can conquer the Yankees by retreating before them or do you not all know that the only way to make spaniels civil is to whip them?” The moral
 

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