Mary Boykin Chesnut, excerpts from Woodward, C. Vann, ed. Mary Chesnut's Civil War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

“….We are divorced, North from South, because we hated each other so.  If we could only separate- a ‘separation a l’agreable’, as the French say it, and not a horrid fight for divorce” 
March 1861, p. 25

 

“We want to separate from them-to be rid of Yankees forever at any price.  And they hate us so and would clasp us-or hook us, as Polonius has it- to  their bosoms with hooks of steel. We are an unwilling bride.  I think incompatibility of temper began when it was made plain to us that we get all the opprobrium of slavery and they all the money there was in it- with their tariff."
28 June 1861, p. 84

 

“ This war was undertaken by us to shake off the yoke of foreign invaders.  So we consided our cause righteous.  The Yankees, since the war begun, have discovered it is to free the slaves they are fighting-so their cause is noble.  They also expect to make the war pay.  Yankees do not undertake anything that does not pay.  They think we belong to them.  We have been good milk cows.  Milked by the tariff, or skimmed.  We let the have all of our hard earnings.  We bore the ban of slavery.  They got the money.  Cotton pays everbody who handles it, sells it, manufactures it…rarely pays the men who make it.  Secondhand, they received the wages of slavery.  They grew rich, we grew poor.  Receiver is as bad as the thief.  That applies to us, too- we received these savages they stole from Africa and brought to us in their slave ships.  Like the Egyptians, if they let us go, it must be across a red sea of blood” 
8 & 9 July 1862, p. 410

 

“…We fought to get rid of Yankees and Yankee rule.  We had no use for Yankees down here and no pleasure in their company.  We wanted to separate from them for aye. How different is their estimate of us.  To keep the despised and iniquitous South within their borders, as part of their country, they are willing to enlist millions of men at home and abroad and to spend billions.  And we know they do not love fighting per se- nor spending their money.  They are perfectly willing to have three killed for our one.  We hear they have all grown rich-shoddy-whatever that is.  Genuine Yankees can make a fortune trading jack-knives.”
16 April 16 1865, p. 789

 

“We are scattered-stunned-the remnant of heart left alive with us, filled with brotherly hate…such a hue and cry-whose fault.  Everybody blames somebody else.  Only the dead heros left stuff and stark on the battlefield escapes”
16 May 1865, p. 814

 

 

Back to "Secession: A Southern Perspective"