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White House of the Confederacy

historic White House of the Confederacy

White House of the Confederacy
Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries

The White House of the Confederacy served as the Executive Mansion of the Confederacy from 1861 to 1865, when Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. The mansion was the official quarters during the Civil War of the only President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis.  From this house, Davis fled Richmond on April 3 1865, just before the April 9, 1865 surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.  The house was the birthplace of his daughter Winnie, “Daughter of the Confederacy,” and where his son Joseph died in a fall from a porch. 

Originally built in 1818 for Dr. John Brockenbrough, the home is one of the finer examples of Federal style homes in the City of Richmond. Celebrated architect Robert Mills designed the mansion.  Mills was also responsible four years earlier for the design of the nearby Monumental Church at 1313 East Broad Street.

In addition to its historic interest as the seat of the Confederacy during the Civil War, the home and attached museum rank as the most outstanding repository of Confederate memorabilia in the United States.  The Confederate Memorial Literary Society, a group of Richmond women, acquired the house in 1893.  Three years later, on February 22, 1896, the building opened as the Confederate Museum and “promptly became the premier national repository of Confederate artifacts, acquiring the majority of its world-famous collection between 1896 and World War I” (Museum of the Confederacy).  The white house continues to house an astounding collection of objects associated with the Confederacy and President Davis.  The contemporary museum building next door now houses most of the institution's vast collection which includes the Appomatox uniform and sword of Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson’s sword and cap, and items of clothing and equipment associated with other noted Confederate leaders.

Museum of the Confederacy

Museum of the Confederacy
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development

Richmond architect Henry E. Baskervill provided direction for fire-proofing and restoring the mansion to museum status in 1895. Another renovation of the house occurred from 1977 to 1988 to restore the white house to its Davis-era elegance complete with period decor, furnishings, and objects. The museum building next door houses three floors of exhibits as well as the Eleanor S. Brockenbrough Library and the conservation and preservation efforts. The house and the modern museum building together comprise the Museum of the Confederacy, which serves as an international center of study on the role of the Confederacy in the American Civil War. 

Plan your visit

The White House of the Confederacy is located at Clay and 12th Sts. in the historic Court End neighborhood, an area surrounded by the growing hospital complex of the Medical College of Virginia (MCV).  The White House of the Confederacy has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Click here for the National Historic Landmark registration file. The house and the museum are open Monday-Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Sunday 12:00 to 5:00pm. Fees are charged except for members, children under 7, and active duty military personnel. Call 804-649-1861 or visit the Museum of the Confederacy  website for more information.

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