What did Mary Chesnut mean?

Mary Chesnut is one of the most famous southern diarists of the American Civil War. Part of the elite because of her husband’s wealth and high positions in the Confederacy, she rubbed elbows with many prominent personalities of the era, and was an intelligent and perceptive observer of the people and events around her.

On October 15, 1861, she finished her diary entry on a particularly intriguing note. Chesnut wrote: “Lamar (L. Q. C., and the cleverest man I know) [no doubt referring to Lucius Q. C. Lamar, a politician and judge from Mississippi] said to me in Richmond, in one of those long talks of ours, ‘Slavery is too heavy a load for us to carry.‘”

Any thoughts from the readers of Civil War Emancipation about what Mary Chesnut meant in relating what Judge Lamar said?

Source: C. Vann Woodward, ed., Mary Chestnut’s Civil War (New Haven, Ct.: Yale University Press, 1993), 217.

About Donald R. Shaffer

Donald R. Shaffer is the author of _After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans_ (Kansas, 2004), which won the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship in 2005. More recently he published (with Elizabeth Regosin), _Voices of Emancipation: Understanding Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through the U.S. Pension Bureau Files_ (2008). Dr. Shaffer teaches online exclusively (i.e., a virtual professor). He lives in Arizona and can be contacted at donald_shaffer@yahoo.com
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