The Diary of Miss Emma Holmes, 1861-1866 / Edition 1

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Two months before the Civil War broke out, Emma Holmes made the first entry in a diary that would eventually hold vivid firsthand accounts of several major historical events. Born into an elite South Carolina family, Holmes was in her twenties during the war years. She lived in Charleston during April, 1861, bombardment of Fort Sumter and was visiting there during the 1863 Union shelling of the city. Her description of the Charleston fire of December, 1861, which destroyed her family home and leveled much of the city, is one of the most powerful passages in the diary.

Holmes also spent extended periods of time on plantations and visited army camps, which she described in detail. Because of the Charleston fire, her family was uprooted to Camden, South Carolina, where she came face-to-face with Union forces: first Sherman's army, then black troops, and finally the small Reconstruction garrison. In presenting her picture of the wartime South, Holmes discussed numerous northern and southern military figures, the role of women in the war effort, the religious and social life of the day, and the heavy toll that fighting and disease took on the military and civilian population.

John F. Marszalek has eliminated extraneous details in order to highlight Holmes's individual insight, the vital heart of the volumn. His new Forward considers this valuable contribution to social history in the context of the current growing popularity of the Civil War and the relatively recent interest in that conflict among women's studies scholars.

LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Though a personal journal, Holmes's diary offers remarkable firsthand accounts of many of the decisive events of the Civil War. This edition of the 1979 original includes an introduction by scholar John F. Marszalek who also edited the text.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807119402
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Series: Library of Southern Civilization
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 540
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

John F. Marszalek is professor emeritus of history at Mississippi State University and the author of Court Martial: A Black Man in America and Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

Frequently Mentioned Names
February 13 - May 24, 1861: Preparation for War 1
May 25 - August 5, 1861: War Begins 51
August 6 - December 31, 1861: War Rumors and the Charleston Fire 78
January 1 - May 7, 1862: Life in Wartime Charleston 117
May 10 - December 30, 1862: Life in Wartime Camden 160
January 1 - June 29, 1863: Camden as the War Worsens 221
July 1 - September 25, 1863: Union Attack on Charleston 273
September 26, 1863 - October 8, 1864: Bad News from the Battlefields 311
November 12, 1864 - April 7, 1865: A School Teacher and Sherman's Army 379
April 22, 1865 - April 7, 1866: Surrender and Reconstruction 436
Index 491
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