Ramblings & ephemera

Jefferson Davis, the Hill Cats, & the Butcher Cats

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (396):

Nor was [Jefferson Davis] highly skilled as an arbitrator; he had too much admiration and sympathy for those who would not yield, whatever their cause, to be effective at reconciling opponents. In fact, this applied to a situation practically in his own back yard. The [Confederate] White House stood on a tall hill, surrounded by other mansions. On the plain below were the houses of the poor, whose sons had formed a gang called the Butcher Cats, sworn to eternal hatred of the Hill Cats, the children of the gentry on the hill. The two gangs had rock fights and occasional gouging matches. After one particularly severe battle, in which his oldest son was involved, Davis walked down the hill to try his hand at arbitration. He made them a speech, referring to the Butcher Cats as future leaders of the nation. One of them replied, “President, we like you. We don’t want to hurt any of your boys. But we ain’t never going to be friends with them Hill Cats.”

Davis came back up the hill.

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