HISTORY: Civil War diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut

S.C. Encyclopedia | Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut was born on her father’s plantation near Stateburg in Sumter District on March 31, 1823. She is recognized as “the preeminent writer of the Confederacy” because of the diary she kept during the Civil War and revised for publication in the early 1880s. No other southern writer of her era possessed the combination of literary cultivation, psychological perception, opportunity to observe closely the upper echelons of the Confederacy, and a willingness to write candidly about people, events, and issues—including slavery. The resulting publication, much revised and more appropriately labeled a memoir, secured her place in southern literary history.

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