Mary Chesnut Sits With Jefferson Davis.




Mary Chesnut was a southern aristocratic author who kept an amazing diary during the build up to the war, during the war and during the denouement. This week we have been taking select quotes from this masterpiece and sharing them.


He tells us that Lincoln is a humorist. Lincoln sees the fun of things; he thinks if they had left us in a corner or out in the cold a while pouting, with our fingers in our mouth, by hook or by crook he could have got us back, but Anderson spoiled all.

        In Mrs. Davis’s drawing-room last night, the President took a seat by me on the sofa where I sat. He talked for nearly an hour. He laughed at our faith in our own powers. We are like the British. We think every Southerner equal to three Yankees at least. We will have to be equivalent to a dozen now. After his experience of the fighting qualities of Southerners in Mexico, he believes that we will do all that can be done by pluck and muscle, endurance, and dogged courage, dash, and red-hot patriotism. And yet his tone was not sanguine. There was a sad refrain running through it all. For one thing, either way, he thinks it will be a long war. That floored me at once. It has been too long for me already. Then he said, before the end came we would have many a bitter experience. He said only fools doubted the courage of the Yankees, or their willingness to fight when they saw fit. And now that we have stung their pride, we have roused them till they will fight like devils.

        Mrs. Bradley Johnson is here, a regular heroine. She outgeneraled the Governor of North Carolina in some way and has got arms and clothes and ammunition for her husband’s regiment.1 There was some joke. The regimental breeches were all wrong, but a tailor righted that – hind part before, or something odd.


Source: Mary Chesnut’s Civil War




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