Mary Boykin Chesnut | History of SC Slide Collection

Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823-1886) was the wife of James Chesnut Jr., and a famous Civil War diarist. Born near Camden, she attended private schools; at Madame Talvande's School in Charleston she first met James Chesnut shortly after her 13th birthday. In 1840, when she was 17, they were married. When he returned to South Carolina after resigning his position in the U.S. Senate in 1860, she accompanied him to his military post in Charleston, and began there the diary she kept from November 1860 through August 1865, detailing the life of a southern woman during the Civil War. She preferred the active social life of the Confederate capitols at Montgomery, Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; and even of Columbia, to the more sheltered life on Mulberry, their plantation in Camden. She had no children.

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.

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