Mary Boykin Chesnut, author of perhaps the important personal account of the American Civil War, was born at Mount Pleasant plantation near Statesburg, South Carolina on 31 March 1823. She was the first of Stephen Decatur and Mary Boykin Miller’s four children; she also had an older half-brother, from her father’s first marriage. Mary’s father, a successful attorney, planter, politician, and leading proponent of Nullification, served at various times as South Carolina congressman, governor, and U. S. Senator before leaving politics in 1833. Mary’s mother was the daughter of Burwell Boykin, a prominent planter in the Camden, South Carolina area.

Mary’s early education, in learning to read as well as in the domestic m…

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Meats, Stephen E.. "Mary Chesnut". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2005
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]