a convergence of tea time thoughts for ladies

Mary Boykin Chesnut

I liked this book because it gave me an idea of what every day life was back in that time period (1860’s) and helped me understand the civil war a little better.  Just like in Sarah Morgan’s book, everyone was hiding their silver from the Yankees.  Mary Chestnut’s diary is  better than Sarah Morgan’s, only because there are  more colorful stories included.  I read it on the computer.  Here’s where I read it online      It took about 2 weeks to get through it,  since I took my time reading it in 30 or 40 minute sittings. 

image She’s another Southern civil war lady who wrote a diary of the civil war like Sarah Morgan did, but Mary Chestnut was 40 when the war broke out in 1860 and Sarah Morgan was  only 20 years old (see July 11th and 12th post on Sarah Morgan).   Her diary is far from boring, with a lot of everyday life happenings that  are often humorous;  there are the sad parts too about the war and how it unraveled  everyone’s life in the South.  She still sees the uplifting side to life since she can read human nature in all situations.

image There’s her husband who was a Senator and after that, an aid to President Davis during the war.  He was not at home much;  busy with the war, but he does come and go throughout the book.

imageHere are some recollections from the book-  the man who rode away with his tobacco  bag that had his life savings in it, 26 thousand dollars!  Yankee’s didn’t get his money.   The women that had to squeeze through the train window (they called trains “cars’) to get on board since they closed the regular loading terminal.  

The sick soldier who pretended to be far worse than he was and kissed the nurse when she wiped his brow.  The kind neighbors that brought food  to Mary Chestnut’s when she was to  entertain President Davis and his men one evening for dinner.  Her servant Molly who had to tell someone off on a train trip.   The slave who ran away to the Yankees and the Yankees took his gold watch that the slave’s master gave him.  The slave came back to the plantation and said: “I’d rather be with the man who gave me the watch than with the men who took it.”

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