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

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A Diary From Dixie.

February 9, 2014

A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut.

February 9th.—This party for Johnny was the very nicest I have ever had, and I mean it to be my last. I sent word to the Carys to bring their own men. They came alone, saying, “they did not care for men.” “That means a raid on ours,” growled Isabella. Mr. Lamar was devoted to Constance Cary. He is a free lance; so that created no heart-burning.

Afterward, when the whole thing was over, and a success, the lights put out, etc., here trooped in the four girls, who stayed all night with me. In dressing-gowns they stirred up a hot fire, relit the gas, and went in for their supper; réchauffé was the word, oysters, hot coffee, etc. They kept it up till daylight.

Of course, we slept very late. As they came in to breakfast, I remarked, “The church-bells have been going on like mad. I take it as a rebuke to our breaking the Sabbath. You know Sunday began at twelve o’clock last night.” “It sounds to me like fire-bells,” somebody said.

Soon the Infant dashed in, done up in soldier’s clothes: “The Yankees are upon us!” said he. “Don’t you hear the alarm-bells? They have been ringing day and night!” Alex Haskell came; he and Johnny went off to report to Custis Lee and to be enrolled among his “locals,” who are always detailed for the defense of the city. But this time the attack on Richmond has proved a false alarm.

A new trouble at the President’s house: their trusty man, Robert, broken out with the smallpox.

We went to the Webb ball, and such a pleasant time we had. After a while the P. M. G. (Pet Major-General) took his seat in the comfortable chair next to mine, and declared his determination to hold that position. Mr. Hunter and Mr. Benjamin essayed to dislodge him. Mrs. Stanard said: “Take him in the flirtation room; there he will soon be captured and led away,” but I did not know where that room was situated. Besides, my bold Texan made a most unexpected sally: “I will not go, and I will prevent her from going with any of you.” Supper was near at hand, and Mr. Mallory said: “Ask him if the varioloid is not at his house. I know it is.” I started as if I were shot, and I took Mr. Clay’s arm and went in to supper, leaving the P. M. G. to the girls. Venison and everything nice.

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