Devil Diarists of Winchester


Union and Confederate Women Who Kept Diaries

The small town of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia changed hands between the Confederate Army and Union Army numerous times during the Civil War. The town's strategic location included a network of seven major roads that radiated out toward other towns and cities; two of the roads were macadamized. This road [Read More ...]

Emma LeConte


Witness to the Burning of Columbia, South Carolina

Emma Leconte was only seventeen years old when she recorded in her diary the systematic burning of Columbia, SC during General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. During the war Emma remained in the city with her mother, while her father Joseph LeConte, a former professor at South Carolina College, worked as a chemist in [Read More ...]

Sarah Ballou


A Union Soldier's Letter to His Wife

Image: Sullivan and Sarah Ballou

Sarah Ballou's husband, Sullivan, left his family, law practice and a promising political career to enlist in the Union Army. On July 14, 1861, Sullivan Ballou wrote a poignant letter to his wife, expressing his love for her and his patriotism toward his country. A week later he [Read More ...]

Mary Loughborough


Women Lived in Caves During the Siege of Vicksburg

During the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi in the summer of 1863, many residents of the city cut caves into the hillsides and lived in them. In these dark quarters, they lived in constant fear of the 220-pound mortar shells fired by the Union fleet on the Mississippi River. In 1864 Mary [Read More ...]

Caroline Cowles Richards


Civil War Civilian and Diarist

The journal Caroline Richards started when she was 10, parallels a young girl growing up as the nation did too. Although raised by a Puritan grandmother, she was blessed with both humor and the intelligence to think for herself. When Richards heard Susan B. Anthony speak, she signed a pledge to help bring about equal [Read More ...]

Mary Boykin Chesnut


Author of the Most Famous Civil War Diary

Mary Boykin Miller was born on March 31, 1823, on her grandparents' plantation near Stateburg, South Carolina, in the High Hills of Santee. Her grandfather, Burwell Boykin, served as an officer in the Revolutionary War under Francis Marion and established one of the largest upcountry plantations in the state. Her father, Stephen [Read More ...]