Pierce won the election and, in 1853, made Davis his Secretary of War. In this capacity, Davis gave to Congress four annual reports (in December of each year), as well as an elaborate one (submitted on February 22, 1855) on various routes for the proposed Transcontinental Railroad. The Pierce Administration ended in 1857. The President lost the Democratic nomination, which went instead to James Buchanan. Davis' term was to end with Pierce's, so he ran successfully for the Senate, and re-entered it on March 4, 1857.
In 1853 Secretary of War Jefferson Davis had dispatched parties of Topographical Engineers to survey potential routes for a Pacific Railroad (see “JEFFERSON DAVIS, GEORGE McCLELLAN AND THE WAR DEPARTMENT'S PACIFIC RAILROAD EXPLORATIONS AND SURVEYS OF 1853-54.”) the results of which were published in 1854 and 1855 in twelve massive volumes. However Judah also followed with interest in the Department’s annual reports to the President the other activities of the War Department with regard to the surveys, the Army’s growing need for faster transportation for troops and supplies, and its other operations in the West.