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RICHMOND, Va., July 13, 1861 [RICHMOND, Va.]. Now we feel safe and comfortable. We can not be flanked. Mr. Preston met us at Warrenton. Mr. Chesnut doubtless had too many spies to receive from Washington, galloping in with the exact numbers of the enemy done up in their back hair.
Wade Hampton is here; Doctor Nott also Nott and Glyddon known to fame. Everybody is here, en route for the army, or staying for the meeting of Congress.
Lamar is out on crutches. His father-in-law, once known only as the humorist Longstreet, author of Georgia Scenes, now a staid Methodist, who has outgrown the follies of his youth, bore him off to-day. They say Judge Longstreet has lost the keen sense of fun that illuminated his life in days of yore. Mrs. Lamar and her daughter were here.
The President met us cordially, but he laughed at our sudden retreat, with baggage lost, etc. He tried to keep us from going ; said it was a dangerous experiment. Dare say he knows more about the situation of things than he chooses to tell us.
To-day in the drawing-room, saw a vivandiere in the flesh. She was in the uniform of her regiment, but wore Turkish pantaloons. She frisked about in her hat and feathers; did not uncover her head as a man would have done; played the piano; and sang war-songs. She had no drum, but she gave us rataplan. She was followed at every step by a mob of admiring soldiers and boys.
Yesterday, as we left the cars, we had a glimpse of war. It was the saddest sight : the memory of it is hard to shake off sick soldiers, not wounded ones. There were quite two hundred (they said) lying about as best they might on the platform. Robert Barnwell J was there doing all he could. Their pale, ghastly faces ! So here is one of the horrors of war we had not reckoned on. There were many good men and women with Robert Barnwell, rendering all the service possible in the circumstances.
Just now I happened to look up and saw Mr. Chesnut with a smile on his face watching me from the passageway. I flew across the room, and as I got half-way saw Mrs. Davis touch him on the shoulder. She said he was to go at once into Mr. Davis's room, where General Lee and General Cooper were. After he left us, Mrs. Davis told me General Beauregard had sent Mr. Chesnut here on some army business.
- A Diary from Dixie As Written by Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, 1906