LADIES OF RICHMOND by Katharine M.-Ed. Jones


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Compiled and edited by the Southern author of The Plantation South, Heroines of Dixie, etc., and with an introduction by Clifford Dowdey, this book is a collection of excerpts from letters, diaries and personal recollections of various ladies who lived in Richmond during its great days as the Capital of the Confederacy. And ""ladies"" they all were; there is no lowly woman, no ordinary housewife, in the book. Instead, here are Varina Howell Davis, the President's wife, and Mary Custis Lee, devoted wife of the General, Julia Gardiner Tyler, second wife of ex-President Tyler, and many others, including the Confederate spies, Rose O'Neal Greenhow and Belle Boyd, and the amazing spinster, Elizabeth Van Lew, who from Richmond spied undetected for the North. Their letters reflect the elation that came with Secession and the early Confederate victories, the gradual growth of fear and disillusion as the War dragged on, the trials of housekeeping in the capital city, and the panic and near- starvation of the final days. There is little new material in the book, but many of the excerpts are fascinating both in content and style, such as the comments by the often-quoted Mary Bodkin Chesnut and Sara Rice Pryor's vivid account of her work as a volunteer nurse; some others are dull, and still others repetitious. Of historical value for its collective account of a woman's life under the Confederacy, this book is one for women rather than for men, for Southern rather than for Northern readers.

Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill