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

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A Diary From Dixie.

January 5, 2014

A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut.

January 5th.—At Mrs. Preston’s, met the Light Brigade in battle array, ready to sally forth, conquering and to conquer. They would stand no nonsense from me about staying at home to translate a French play. Indeed, the plays that have been sent us are so indecent I scarcely know where a play is to be found that would do at all.

While at dinner the President’s carriage drove up with only General Hood. He sent up to ask in Maggie Howell’s name would I go with them? I tied up two partridges between plates with a serviette, for Buck, who is ill, and then went down. We picked up Mary Preston. It was Maggie ‘s drive; as the soldiers say, I was only on ”escort duty.” At the Prestons’, Major Venable met us at the door and took in the partridges to Buck. As we drove off Maggie said: “Major Venable is a Carolinian, I see.” “No; Virginian to the core.” “But, then, he was a professor in the South Carolina College before the war.” Mary Preston said: ”She is taking a fling at your weakness for all South Carolina.”

Came home and found my husband in a bitter mood. It has all gone wrong with our world. The loss of our private fortune the smallest part. He intimates, “with so much human misery filling the air, we might stay at home and think.” “And go mad?” said I. “Catch me at it! A yawning grave, with piles of red earth thrown on one side; that is the only future I ever see. You remember Emma Stockton? She and I were as blithe as birds that day at Mulberry. I came here the next day, and when I arrived a telegram said: ‘Emma Stockton found dead in her bed.’ It is awfully near, that thought. No, no. I will not stop and think of death always.”

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