Scott Nelson is the GAA Professor of History at the University of Georgia and the author of Iron Confederacies (1999); Steel Drivin' Man (2006), which won the OAH Merle Curti Prize; and A Nation of Deadbeats: An Uncommon History of America's Financial Disasters (2012). A children's book entitled Ain't Nothing But a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry (2007) is based on his research. He is a coauthor of A People at War: Civilians and Soldiers in America's Civil War (2007) and is currently working on a history of the international wheat trade, the Panic of 1873, and the Russian Revolution.
Why did Southern Democrats most hate Republican Governor Underwood: he had created the first black and white jury in the history of Virginia. Mrs. Robert E. Lee complained in a letter to a friend, “Have you read Underwood’s charge to the grand jury, five of whom are Negroes?” This was the first real test of Black civil rights in the Virginia and it might have led to a drastic and revolutionary change in the way that Virginia operated. But it was not to be. In September of 1866, Justice Salmon P. Chase pointed out that Davis could not be tried because the Judiciary Act of 1866 did not specify the new boundaries for the district court. Jefferson Davis had committed treason and escaped execution; but on the same day John Henry received a ten year sentence for shoplifting. This became a death sentence.