Captain Robert Hamilton McWhorta Davidson was born September 23rd, 1832 at Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida. He attended the common schools and the Quincy Academy at Quincy, Florida; then studied law at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Virginia.
He was admitted to the bar in 1853 and commenced to practice law in Quincy, Florida. He was a member of the Florida house of representatives, 1856-57 and 1858-59.
In 1860, he was living at Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida. He was a lawyer by profession, owning real estate in the value of $700, and a personal worth of $6,000. He married Leila A. Callis from Virginia on January 9th, 1860 at Gadsden County, Florida.
Davidson was elected to the Florida state senate and served from 1860-62, retiring in the latter year to raise a company of infantry. He was enlisted into Confederate service on March 12, 1862 at Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida and appointed to the rank of Captain.
He was assigned to support a battery of artillery overlooking the Apalachicola River at Rico’s Bluff, Liberty County, Florida; his recruiting efforts caused him to travel numerous times between Rico’s Bluff and Quincy.
His company would be absent on duty at Rico’s Bluff when the 6th Regiment was mustered into Confederate service at Chattahoochee in mid-April.
Captain Davidson was present with his company when it left the state, and remained with them until February 9th, 1863, when he was detached for service to Knoxville, Tennessee as a member of an Examining Board.
He returned to the company about July 9th, 1863. All Florida infantry regiments were brigaded together by General Braxton Bragg on November 12th, 1863; Colonel Jesse J. Finley commanding the 6th Regiment would be elevated to command the Florida Brigade with the rank of Brigadier General, Lieutenant Colonel Angus D. McLean would be promoted to Colonel and succeed him in command of the 6th Florida. Major Daniel L. Kenan would be elevated to Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Davidson would be elevated to Major on November 16th, 1863 and serve on the Field and Staff of the 6th Florida Regiment. Davidson’s relief for command of Company A would be 1st Lieutenant Charles Edward Living Allison who was promoted to Captain.
Davidson took ill shortly after the Battle of Missionary Ridge and was absent from his new assignment from November 23rd, 1863 until about January, 1864. He was present with the regiment from his return in January 1864 until the Battle of Dallas Georgia on May 28th, 1864.
Just prior to an assault against prepared works occupied by the 37th and 53rd Ohio Infantry, a Federal skirmisher killed Colonel Angus McLean; Lieutenant Colonel Kenan would lead the 6th in the assault, with Major Davidson assuming Colonel Kenan’s position.
During the assault, Davidson was wounded. The wound was so severe that he was furloughed the same day. Due to his injury he was unable to return to the front but was appointed to Lieutenant Colonel and was stationed in Quincy, Florida until the end of the war. He was paroled May 16th, 1865 at Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida.
After the war, he resumed his law practice, which became large and important. He was a member of the Florida State constitutional convention in 1865; a presidential elector on the Greeley and Brown ticket in 1872; and in 1876 had the distinction of being the first democratic congressman elected in Florida after the war, representing 1st district of Florida to the Forty-fifth Congress and to the next six succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1877-March 3, 1891); chairman, Committee on Railways and Canals (Forty-eighth through Fiftieth Congresses); unsuccessful candidate for re-nomination in 1890 to the Fifty-second Congress.
After his term, he was member of the Florida State railroad commission, (1897-98) and continued to practice law. For years he was an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Colonel Davidson, age 75, died January 18th, 1908 at Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida. He is interred at Western Cemetery, Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida.