“Jeff in Petticoats”


Jefferson Davis realizes he is in danger of capture by Union troops, and decides to dress in women's clothes to escape. The Union troops scorn him, saying, "Oh! Jeffy D. You 'flow'r of chivalree... Your empire's but a tinclad skirt...."


According to Jefferson Davis's account, he was wearing a shawl his wife had given him for warmth when he was captured. Union troops claimed he was trying to disguise himself as a woman. Although Davis's account is likely true, sarcastic Unionist songwriters could hardly leave it at that. - RBW

Historical references

  • April 2, 1865 - Robert E. Lee evacuates Richmond. The Confederate government flees
  • April 8, 1865 - Lee's surrender
  • May 10, 1865 - Capture of Jefferson Davis


  1. Gilbert, pp. 11-12, "Jeff in Petticoats" (1 partial text)
  3. BI, Gil011


Author: George Cooper and Henry Tucker
Earliest date: 1865 (sheet music)