Union troops captured the former president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, in May 1865. Whether Davis, who had eluded arrest for over a month, was actually wearing his wife’s dress when he was caught is open to question. Nonetheless, the depiction of the captured Davis in woman’s clothes was featured in many illustrations and cartoons in the northern press. These images—like earlier pictures of southern women sending their men to war and rioting—questioned the South’s claims of courage and chivalry by showing its men and women reversing traditional sex roles.
Source: Harper’s Weekly, May 27, 1865—American Social History Project.