A Diary from Dixie

A Diary from Dixie

A Diary from Dixie

A Diary from Dixie


Mary Boykin Chesnut steps out alive from the pages of her journal as beautiful, vivacious, flirtatious, warm-hearted, cool-thinking, astonishingly frank and wonderfully articulate... The book is very quotable.


In preparation for writing House Divided, and during the progress of the work, I added to my library many books dealing with civilian life in the South during the War of the Sixties. A Diary from Dixie, by Mary Boykin Chesnut, was the fourth out of more than three hundred such purchases, and the second of these books which I read. During the actual writing of House Divided, I never began a new chapter without first looking into the Diary to see what Mrs. Chesnut had had to say about the period with which I was about to deal.

As a consequence, anyone who read the novel will find in the Diary much that is familiar. More than that, the reader of House Divided and of this Diary will soon begin to recognize a strong resemblance, spiritually and psychologically, between Mrs. Chesnut and Cinda Dewain. They might have been sisters; and certainly many of their experiences and their thoughts were shared.

So when I was invited to edit a new edition of the Diary, which would include passages that had been eliminated from the earlier edition, I eagerly accepted the task. According to the Introduction to the earlier edition, this Diary was first edited by Mrs. Chesnut herself. She had written it from day to day during the war, on whatever scraps of paper were available; but after the War, being an intelligent woman, she knew that the Diary should be preserved in some orderly form. So she set herself the task of transcribing the original in a series of small notebooks, and -- doubtless eliding some portions as she went along -- she did so.

The original edition of the Diary filled some four hundred book pages. I anticipated that the complete diary would be somewhat longer; but I was not prepared for the actuality. the original edition contained about 150,000 words; the manuscript copy of the complete . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.