Mary Boykin Chesnut

Mary ChesnutChesnut, MaryMary Boykin MillerMary ChestnutMary Boykin Miller Chesnut
Mary Boykin Chesnut (née Miller) (March 31, 1823 – November 22, 1886) was an American author noted for a book published as her Civil War diary, a "vivid picture of a society in the throes of its life-and-death struggle." She described the war from within her upper-class circles of Southern planter society, but encompassed all classes in her book.wikipedia
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Mary Chesnut's Civil War

His annotated edition of the diary, Mary Chesnut's Civil War (1981), won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1982.
Mary Chesnut's Civil War is an annotated collection of the diaries of Mary Boykin Chesnut, an upper-class planter who lived in South Carolina during the American Civil War.

Planter class

planterplantersplantation owner
She described the war from within her upper-class circles of Southern planter society, but encompassed all classes in her book.
Members of this class include colonists Robert "King" Carter, William Byrd of Westover, many signers of the Declaration of Independence including Benjamin Harrison V, Thomas Nelson, Jr., George Wythe, Carter Braxton and Richard Henry Lee, Founding Fathers, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Mary Chesnut, Valcour Aime, Sallie Ward, and the fictional Scarlett O'Hara from the film Gone with the Wind (1939).

Stephen Decatur Miller

Stephen D. MillerStephen Miller
Her parents were Stephen Decatur Miller (1788–1838), who had served as a U.S. Representative, and Mary Boykin (1804–85).
Their daughter Mary Boykin Miller (1823–86) married James Chesnut, Jr. (1815–85), who later became a U.S. Senator and a Confederate general.

James Chesnut Jr.

James Chesnut, Jr.James ChesnutChesnut
In 1836, while in Charleston, thirteen-year-old Mary Boykin Miller met her future husband, James Chesnut, Jr. (1815–85), who was eight years her senior.
His wife was Mary Boykin Chesnut, whose published diaries reflect the Chesnuts' busy social life and prominent friends such as John Bell Hood, Louis T. Wigfall, Wade Hampton III, and Jefferson Davis.

High Hills of Santee

High Hills of the Santee
Mary Chesnut was born on March 31, 1823, on her maternal grandparents' plantation, called Mount Pleasant, near Stateburg, South Carolina, in the High Hills of Santee.

C. Vann Woodward

The Strange Career of Jim CrowWoodward, C. Vann
New versions were published after her papers were discovered, in 1949 by the novelist Ben Ames Williams, and in 1981 by the historian C. Vann Woodward.
Woodward won the Pulitzer Prize in 1982 for Mary Chesnut's Civil War, an edited version of Mary Chesnut's Civil War diary.

Mulberry Plantation (James and Mary Boykin Chesnut House)

Mulberry PlantationMulberry
They first lived with his parents and sisters at Mulberry, their plantation near Camden, South Carolina.
Declared a National Historic Landmark in 2000, it is significant as the home of American Civil War chronicler Mary Boykin Chesnut, who produced some of the most important written accounts of the war from a Confederate perspective.

Stateburg, South Carolina

StateburgStatesburg
Mary Chesnut was born on March 31, 1823, on her maternal grandparents' plantation, called Mount Pleasant, near Stateburg, South Carolina, in the High Hills of Santee.

Camden, South Carolina

CamdenCamden, SCColonial Cup
They first lived with his parents and sisters at Mulberry, their plantation near Camden, South Carolina.

John Bell Hood

John B. HoodHoodGeneral Hood
Among them were, for example, Confederate general John Bell Hood, politician John L. Manning, general and politician John S. Preston and his wife Caroline, general and politician Wade Hampton III, politician Clement C. Clay and his wife Virginia, and general and politician Louis T. Wigfall and his wife Charlotte (also known as Louise).
In August 1863, famous diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut wrote of Hood:

Columbia, South Carolina

ColumbiaColumbia, SCColumbia, S.C.
Among them were Montgomery, Alabama and Richmond, Virginia, where the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America convened; Charleston, where she was among witnesses of the first shots of the Civil War; Columbia, South Carolina, where her husband served as the Chief of the Department of the Military of South Carolina and brigadier general in command of South Carolina reserve forces; and again Richmond, where her husband served as an aide to the president.
The historic Robert Mills House was restored in 1967, which inspired the renovation and restoration of other historic structures such as the Hampton-Preston House and homes associated with President Woodrow Wilson, Maxcy Gregg, Mary Boykin Chesnut, and noted free black Celia Mann.

Chesnut Cottage

The couple resided at Chesnut Cottage in Columbia during the Civil War period.
It was the home of General James Chesnut, Jr. and Mary Boykin Chesnut during the American Civil War period.

Varina Davis

VarinaVarina Howell DavisVarina Howell
The Chesnuts were also family friends of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina Howell.
According to diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut, in 1860 Mrs. Davis "sadly" told a friend "The South will secede if Lincoln is made president. They will make Mr. Davis President of the Southern side. And the whole thing is bound to be a failure."

The Civil War (miniseries)

The Civil WarCivil WarThe Civil War'' (miniseries)
A few years later, Ken Burns used extensive readings from Chesnut's diary in his documentary television series, The Civil War.
Burns combined these images with modern cinematography, music, narration by David McCullough, anecdotes and insights from authors such as Shelby Foote, historians Barbara J. Fields, Ed Bearss, and Stephen B. Oates; and actors reading contemporary quotes from historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Walt Whitman, Stonewall Jackson, and Frederick Douglass, as well as diaries by Mary Chesnut, Sam Watkins, Elisha Hunt Rhodes and George Templeton Strong and commentary from James W. Symington.

Louis Wigfall

Louis T. WigfallLouis Trezevant WigfallL. T. Wigfall
Among them were, for example, Confederate general John Bell Hood, politician John L. Manning, general and politician John S. Preston and his wife Caroline, general and politician Wade Hampton III, politician Clement C. Clay and his wife Virginia, and general and politician Louis T. Wigfall and his wife Charlotte (also known as Louise).
According to diarist Mary Chesnut, he was the only "thoroughly happy person I see."

Julie Harris (actress)

Julie HarrisJulie Harris (American actress)
Academy Award-nominated actress Julie Harris read these sections.
She also did extensive voice work for documentary maker Ken Burns: the voices of Emily Warren Roebling in Brooklyn Bridge, Ann Lee in The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God, Susan B. Anthony in Not For Ourselves Alone: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and most notably Southern diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut for Burns' 1990 series The Civil War.

Confederate States of America

ConfederateConfederacyConfederate States
She was married to a lawyer who served as a United States senator and Confederate officer. Literary critics have praised Chesnut's diary—the influential writer Edmund Wilson termed it "a work of art" and a "masterpiece" of the genre —and the most important work by a Confederate author.

Ben Ames Williams

New versions were published after her papers were discovered, in 1949 by the novelist Ben Ames Williams, and in 1981 by the historian C. Vann Woodward.

Pulitzer Prize for History

HistoryPulitzer PrizePulitzer Prize in History
His annotated edition of the diary, Mary Chesnut's Civil War (1981), won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1982.

Edmund Wilson

Wilson, EdmundEdmund and Elena Wilson
Literary critics have praised Chesnut's diary—the influential writer Edmund Wilson termed it "a work of art" and a "masterpiece" of the genre —and the most important work by a Confederate author.

Plantations in the American South

plantationplantationsplanter
Mary Chesnut was born on March 31, 1823, on her maternal grandparents' plantation, called Mount Pleasant, near Stateburg, South Carolina, in the High Hills of Santee.

United States House of Representatives

U.S. RepresentativeU.S. House of RepresentativesUnited States Representative
Her parents were Stephen Decatur Miller (1788–1838), who had served as a U.S. Representative, and Mary Boykin (1804–85).

Governor of South Carolina

GovernorSouth Carolina Governorgubernatorial
In 1829 her father was elected governor of South Carolina and in 1831 as a U.S. Senator.

Charleston, South Carolina

CharlestonCharleston, SCCharles Town
At age 13, Miller began her formal education in Charleston, where she boarded at Madame Talvande's French School for Young Ladies, which attracted daughters from the élite of the planter class.