Credit: South Caroliniana Library, Univ of SC
Mary Boykin Chesnut
Mary Boykin Chesnut (1823-1886), Civil War-era diarist of Camden, SC.
The daughter of a respected politician Mary Boykin Chesnut attended private schools in Camden and Charleston. She kept a diary of her life during the Civil War. The diary became a Civil War classic.
In 1840 she married James Chesnut Jr., who became a U.S. senator until he resigned to serve as a staff officer to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard. Mrs. Chesnut traveled with her husband, and between February 1861 and August 1865 recorded her experiences in her diary. The diary is considered a valuable and insightful view of the military and political leaders of the Confederacy and of Southern life during this period. In anticipation that her diary would be published she edited it numerous times, but it was not printed until 1905.