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

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A Diary From Dixie.

July 26, 2015

A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut.

July 26th.—I do not write often now, not for want of something to say, but from a loathing of all I see and hear, and why dwell upon those things?

Colonel Chesnut, poor old man, is worse—grows more restless. He seems to be wild with “homesickness.” He wants to be at Mulberry. When there he can not see the mighty giants of the forest, the huge, old, wide-spreading oaks, but he says he feels that he is there so soon as he hears the carriage rattling across the bridge at the Beaver Dam.

I am reading French with Johnny—anything to keep him quiet. We gave a dinner to his company, the small remnant of them, at Mulberry house. About twenty idle negroes, trained servants, came without leave or license and assisted. So there was no expense. They gave their time and labor for a good day’s feeding. I think they love to be at the old place.

Then I went up to nurse Kate Withers. That lovely girl, barely eighteen, died of typhoid fever. Tanny wanted his sweet little sister to have a dress for Mary Boykin’s wedding, where she was to be one of the bridesmaids. So Tanny took his horses, rode one, and led the other thirty miles in the broiling sun to Columbia, where he sold the led horse and came back with a roll of Swiss muslin. As he entered the door, he saw Kate lying there dying. She died praying that she might die. She was weary of earth and wanted to be at peace. I saw her die and saw her put in her coffin. No words of mine can tell how unhappy I am. Six young soldiers, her friends, were her pall-bearers. As they marched out with that burden sad were their faces.

Princess Bright Eyes writes: “Our soldier boys returned, want us to continue our weekly dances.” Another maiden fair indites: “Here we have a Yankee garrison. We are told the officers find this the dullest place they were ever in. They want the ladies to get up some amusement for them. They also want to get into society.”

From Isabella in Columbia: “General Hampton is home again. He looks crushed. How can he be otherwise? His beautiful home is in ruins, and ever present with him must be the memory of the death tragedy which closed forever the eyes of his glorious boy, Preston! Now! there strikes up a serenade to General Ames, the Yankee commander, by a military band, of course. . . . Your last letters have been of the meagerest. What is the matter?”

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