A Woman's Civil War: A Diary with Reminiscences of the War from March 1862

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Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1992 - Biography & Autobiography - 303 pages
4 Reviews
     On the night of March 11, 1862, as the heavy tramp of Confederate marching troops died away in the distance--her husband's regiment among them--Cornelia Peake McDonald began her diary of events in war-torn Winchester, Virginia.
     McDonald's story of the Civil War records a personal and distinctly female battle of her own--a southern woman's lonely struggle in the midst of chaos to provide safety and shelter for herself and her children. For McDonald, history is what happens "inside the house." She relates the trauma that occurs when the safety of the home is disrupted and destroyed by the forces of war--when women and children are put out of their houses and have nowhere to go.
     Whether she is describing a Union soldier's theft of her Christmas cakes, the discovery of a human foot in her garden, or the death of her baby daughter, McDonald's story of the Civil War at home is compelling and disturbing. Her tremendous determination and unyielding spirit in the face of the final collapse of her world is testimony to a woman's will to preserve her family and her own sense of purpose as a "rebel" against all that she regarded as tyrannical and brutal in war itself.
  

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Review: A Woman's Civil War: A Diary, with Reminiscences of the War, from March 1862

User Review  - Lisa Whitehead - Goodreads

Cornelia's voice will stay in my head for a long time after reading this book. Although there were parts that got a bit tedious...with all the troop movements and names and places, overall this book ... Read full review

Review: A Woman's Civil War: A Diary, with Reminiscences of the War, from March 1862

User Review  - Joyce M. Tice - Goodreads

It's a tragic story and one which so many thousands lived through. One interesting thing is that even while Cornelia's village is under siege by enemy soldiers, the two sides still find things to ... Read full review

Contents

Preface to the diary
21
Narrative of our refugee life
163
Recollections of the year 1861
246

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References to this book

Amelia's War
Ann Rinaldi
Limited preview - 2002
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About the author (1992)

Born in 1822 in Alexandria, Virginia, Cornelia Peake McDonald lived in Winchester, Virginia, with her nine children during the Civil War. Her record of events was first published in a volume of family history in 1935 from one of the eight handwritten copies made for each of her surviving children before her death in 1909. Minrose C. Gwin is professor of English at the University of New Mexico.

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