Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10, 1863: The diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut

On this day 150 years ago, Mary Boykin Chesnut dined with Varina Davis--the wife of the Confederate President--and encountered Jefferson Davis himself when she walked Varina home.
December 10th. - Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Lyons came. We had luncheon brought in for them, and then a lucid explanation of the chronique scandaleuse, of which Beck J. is the heroine. We walked home with Mrs. Davis and met the President riding alone. Surely that is wrong. It must be unsafe for him when there are so many traitors, not to speak of bribed negroes. Burton Harrison says Mr. Davis prefers to go alone, and there is none to gainsay him.

My husband laid the law down last night. I felt it to be the last drop in my full cup. "No more feasting in this house," said he. "This is no time for junketing and merrymaking." "And you said you brought me here to enjoy the winter before you took me home and turned my face to a dead wall." He is the master of the house; to hear is to obey.
Burton Harrison was one of Jefferson Davis' secretaries. Harrison was courting, and would later marry, Constance Cary and her cousins Hetty and Jennie were known as the "Cary Invincibles," and had sewn the earliest prototypes of what would become the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

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