Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mary Chesnut's Civil War

May 17, 1862, Columbia, South Carolina.

Footprints on the boundaries of another world--once more.
Willie Taylor, before he left home for the army, fancied one day--day, remember, not night--he saw Albert Rhett standing by his side. He recoiled from the ghost in horror.
"You need not do that, Willie, you will soon be as I am."
Willie rushed into the next room to tell them what had happened and fainted. It had a very depressing effect on him. The other day he died in Virginia.

May 24, 1862.

My Hebrew friend Mem Cohen has a son in the war--he is in John Chesnut's company. Cohen is a high name among Jews. It means Aaron.
She has long fits of silence and is absent-minded. If she is suddenly roused, she is apt to say, with overflowing eyes and clasped hands, "If it please God to spare his life."
Her daughter is the sweetest little thing--the son is the mother's idol.
Mrs. Cohen is Miriam DeLeon. I have known her intimately all my life.
Mrs. Bartrow--the widow of Colonel Bartrow who was killed at Manassas--was Miss Berrien, daughter of Judge Berrien of Georgia. She is now in one of the departments here, cutting bonds, Confederate bonds, for five hundred Confederate dollars a year--a penniless woman. Judge Carroll, her brother-in-law, has been urgent with her to come and live with him. In spite of all he can say, she will not forego her resolution. She will be independent. She is a resolute little woman--with the softest, silkiest voice and ways. And clever to the last point.

~ Mary Boykin Chesnut, 1823-1886


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