Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14, 1863: The diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut

Mary Boykin Chesnut enjoyed Richmond's social whirl on this day 150 years ago--escorted by one of Major General Wade Hampton III's sons to visit Connie Cary, one of Richmond's most popular young women.
December 14th. - Drove out with Mrs. Davis. She had a watch in her hand which some poor dead soldier wanted to have sent to his family. First, we went to her mantua-maker, then we drove to the Fair Grounds where the band was playing. Suddenly, she missed the watch. She remembered having it when we came out of the mantua-maker's. We drove beck instantly, and there the watch was lying near the steps of the little porch in front of the house. No one had passed in, apparently; in any case, no one had seen it.

Preston Hampton went with me to see Conny Cary. The talk was frantically literary, which Preston thought hard on him. I had just brought the St. Denis number of Les Miserables.

Sunday, Christopher Hampton walked to church with me. Coming out, General Lee was seen slowly making his way down the aisle, bowing royally to right and left. I pointed him out to Christopher Hampton when General Lee happened to look our way. He bowed low, giving me a charming smile of recognition. I was ashamed of being so pleased. I blushed like a schoolgirl.

We went to the White House. They gave us tea. The President said he had been on the way to our house, coming with all the Davis family, to see me, but the children became so troublesome they turned back. Just then, little Joe rushed in and insisted on saying his prayers at his father's knee, then and there. He was in his night-clothes.

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