Square of the Confederate President's red flannel underwear: a revered Rebel relic.
Square of the Confederate President's red flannel underwear: a revered Rebel relic.

Atlanta History Center: Jeff Davis Underwear

Field review by the editors.

Atlanta, Georgia

As with any large history museum, the Atlanta History Center has its share of both lavish and quirky artifacts. It displays, for example, the locomotive Texas, the less-famous engine that chased (and caught) The General.

Locomotive Texas caught Yankee spies who tried to steal The General.
Locomotive Texas caught Yankee spies who tried to steal The General.

There are entire galleries devoted to Southern subjects such as folk art (with strange Appalachian face jugs) and barbecue (with equally strange plates of plastic chicken). The Center doesn't shy away from the city's less savory past, either, showcasing relics such as a well-thumped drum used in Ku Klux Klan parades; the bizarre "Eternal Flame of the Confederacy" lamp post; and Izzy, Atlanta's spectacularly underwhelming mascot from its 1996 Olympics.

The cuisine of Atlanta in plastic: fried chicken, onion rings, and coleslaw.
The cuisine of roadside Georgia in plastic: fried chicken, onion rings, and coleslaw.

The Civil War marched right through Atlanta (as featured in the museum's Cyclorama) and it provides grist for many grim displays, ranging from a sad war widow to a large showcase of artillery bombs.

Drum was evidently thumped in many Ku Klux Klan parades.
Drum was evidently thumped in many Ku Klux Klan parades.

Less noticeable, nestled within a case of small mementoes, is the Center's most overlooked treasure: a square of red flannel from Confederate President Jefferson Davis's underwear. It was preserved as a relic, according to its typewritten label, by Clement Claiborne Clay, a Confederate Senator from Alabama who was imprisoned with Davis after the war, and who apparently had access to a pair of scissors when Davis wasn't looking.

We mentioned the underwear to Gordon Jones, curator of the Atlanta History Center. He was delighted that we had noticed it, and confessed that one of his secret dreams as a historian was to somehow find all of the other flannel pieces and reassemble the complete underwear of the Confederate President.

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Atlanta History Center: Jeff Davis Underwear

Address:
130 W. Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, GA
Directions:
North side of the city. I-75 exit 254. Drive east on Moores Mill Rd for 1.5 miles. Bear right onto W. Paces Ferry Rd NW. Drive one mile. Entrance on the right. Free parking.
Hours:
M-Sa 10-5:30, Su 12-5:30 (Call to verify)
Phone:
404-814-4000
Admission:
Adults $21.50
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Atlanta CycloramaAtlanta Cyclorama, Atlanta, GA - < 1 mi.
Hunger Games House of President Snow: ToursHunger Games House of President Snow: Tours, Atlanta, GA - < 1 mi.
Pagan Storyteller: Buck ManPagan Storyteller: Buck Man, Atlanta, GA - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Atlanta Built from Legos, Atlanta, GA - 2 mi.

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October 17, 2019

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