Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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A Diary From Dixie

November 28, 2013

A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut.

Richmond, Va., November 28, 1863.—Our pleasant home sojourn was soon broken up. Johnny had to go back to Company A, and my husband was ordered by the President to make a second visit to Bragg’s Army.[1]

So we came on here where the Prestons had taken apartments for me. Molly was with me. Adam Team, the overseer, with Isaac McLaughlin’s help, came with us to take charge of the eight huge boxes of provisions I brought from home. Isaac, Molly’s husband, is a servant of ours, the only one my husband ever bought in his life. Isaac’s wife belonged to Rev. Thomas Davis, and Isaac to somebody else. The owner of Isaac was about to go West, and Isaac was distracted. They asked one thousand dollars for him. He is a huge creature, really a magnificent specimen of a colored gentleman. His occupation had been that of a stage-driver. Now, he is a carpenter, or will be some day. He is awfully grateful to us for buying him; is really devoted to his wife and children, though he has a strange way of showing it, for he has a mistress, en titre, as the French say, which fact Molly never failed to grumble about as soon as his back was turned. “Great big good-for-nothing thing come a-whimpering to marster to buy him for his wife’s sake, and all the time he an—” “Oh, Molly, stop that!” said I.

Mr. Davis visited Charleston and had an enthusiastic reception. He described it all to General Preston. Governor Aiken’s perfect old Carolina style of living delighted him. Those old gray-haired darkies and their noiseless, automatic service, the result of finished training—one does miss that sort of thing when away from home, where your own servants think for you; they know your ways and your wants; they save you all responsibility even in matters of your own ease and well doing. The butler at Mulberry would be miserable and feel himself a ridiculous failure were I ever forced to ask him for anything.

[1] Braxton Bragg was a native of North Carolina and had won distinction in the war with Mexico.

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