From the Richmond Dispatch, 5/2/1864, p. 1, c. 6
Fatal Accident – A Son of President Davis Killed by a Fall. – A most distressing accident occurred at the President's Mansion on Saturday afternoon last. About five o'clock Joseph E. Davis, about four years old, son of President Davis, who had been playing about the yard during the earlier part of the evening, was missed, when search was instituted, and in a short time he was found lying in an insensible condition on the brick area below the east portico of the residence, with his left thigh broken and a severe contusion on his forehead. When discovered, an elder son of the President, named Jefferson, was kneeling by, endeavoring in the most affectionate manner to make him speak, but apparently not realizing the reason which prevented his brother from doing so. As soon as possible Drs. Wellford, Haxall, Conway, and Peticolas, were in attendance; but all their efforts proved ineffectual, and the little follow, after an hour's suffering, during which time he was perfectly insensible, breathed his last. The exact cause of the unfortunate accident is not known; but as there was a step-ladder leading from the area in the yard to the porch above, a distance of from fifteen to twenty feet, it is conjectured that he was standing near its top, and, losing his balance, fell over into the yard below. The funeral took place at five o'clock yesterday afternoon, from St. Paul's Church. A large crowd of sympathizing friends were in attendance, and the ceremonies of the occasion were of the most impressive character.