Monday, December 10, 2012

Diary of Mary Boykin Chesnut: February 20, 1862

COLUMBIA, S. C. — Had an appetite for my dainty breakfast. Always breakfast in bed now. But then, my Mercury contained such bad news. That is an appetizing style of matutinal newspaper. Fort Donelson1 has fallen, but no men fell with it. It is prisoners for them that we can not spare, or prisoners for us that we may not be able to feed: that is so much to be "forefended," as Keitt says. They lost six thousand, we two thousand; I grudge that proportion. In vain, alas! ye gallant few — few, but undismayed. Again, they make a stand. We have Buckner, Beauregard, and Albert Sidney Johnston. With such leaders and God’s help we may be saved from the hated Yankees; who knows?

1 Fort Donelson stood on the Cumberland River about 60 miles northwest of Nashville. The Confederate garrison numbered about 18,000 men. General Grant invested the Fort on February 13, 1862, and General Buckner, who commanded it, surrendered on February 16th. The Federal force at the time of the surrender numbered 27,000 men; their loss in killed and wounded being 2,660 men and the Confederate loss about 2,000.

SOURCE: Mary Boykin Chesnut, Edited by Isabella D. Martin and Myrta Lockett Avary, A Diary From Dixie, p. 131

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