A PHOTOGRAPH showing the former President of the Confederate States of America holidaying in Glasgow has been unearthed by an amateur historian.

The image shows Jefferson Davis seated outside Benvue House, now 4 Sydenham Road, in the city's west end, with iron works owner James Smith and his family in 1869.

Mr Davis served as the President of the Confederate States between February 1861 and May 1865.

His term came to an end following the Confederate collapse at the end of the civil war. He was then imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, for two years due to his part in the war.

Mr Davis and Mr Smith became friends when the Scot visited Mississippi before the war to found an iron works.

They were brought closer when Mr Smith's younger brother, Robert, became a colonel with the Mississippi Rifles, and bodyguard to Mr Davis.

Billy Buchanan, an independent councillor for Falkirk Council, made the discovery while trawling through the archives of George Ure, a former business associate of Mr Smith at his Smith and Wellstood iron foundry in Bonnybridge.

He said: "Jefferson Davis came across after he was released from prison, where he spent two years for his involvement in the civil war.

"Smith met him at Liverpool when he arrived and Davis came to visit the following year."

Mr Davis's visit to Scotland was preceded with a letter to the iron works boss, also uncovered by the historian, which affectionately announced his trip north.

The letter, dated August 9, 1868, thanks Mr Smith for meeting him the previous year at Liverpool and offers condolences for the death of Colonel Robert Smith, who died at the Battle of Munfordville six years earlier.

The correspondence states: "[I have] the very strong desire to see you and your family at home. Hoping while in Great Britain to pull your latch string. I am truly and respectfully your friend, Jefferson Davis."

Mr Buchanan added: "The picture was taken in 1869. What you've got is Davis sitting outside a house in Glasgow on his holidays.

"The significance, and what you've got to remember, is that there was a lot of sympathy for the Confederacy in Scotland.

"A lot of the people who had the money in the west of Scotland were involved in all sorts – cotton, tobacco and all that – so there was close links between the southern states and Glasgow.

"There was quite a bit of money and support that went from Scotland over to the Confederates."

Mr Buchanan, who has written a number of history books, has passed the photograph and letter to Falkirk Council, which has since archived them.

The discovery comes before the 150th anniversary celebrations of the death of Robert Smith.

Colonel Smith is regarded as a folk hero by confederate sympathisers in the southern states of America. His death, on September 14, will be memorialised by a battle re-enactment and festival – which Mr Buchanan will be attending.