Crown of thorns woven by Varina Davis for her husband. Now in Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans, the object formally hung in the study of Jefferson Davis, above a photograph and autograph inscription of Pius IX, sent to the president while he was prisoner at Fortress Monroe.
“Then the soldiers of the governor [Pontius Pilate] took Jesus … stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head … and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! … And after that they had mocked him, they … led him away to crucify him (Matt. 27:27-31).”
This ironic crown, combining highest honor and degrading torture, became a premier symbol for the Passion of Christ – all that he suffered before and during his crucifixion. Like the Cross itself, however, it was made glorious by his resurrection.
At the end of the War for Southern Independence, which the South lost, the only president of the short-lived Confederate States of America was treated like a criminal. He was clapped into solitary confinement in a military prison, at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. The discipline was so strict that Jefferson Davis and his guards (and at first two were right in the cell with him) were forbidden to speak to each other. Davis could never for a moment, even for the needs of nature, leave their presence or the small stone room.
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