The Diary of Nannie Haskins Williams

Publisher : Univ. of Tennessee Press

ISBN-13 : 162190038X

Page : 371 pages

Rating : 4.5/5 from 38X voters

In 1863, while living in Clarksville, Tennessee, Martha Ann Haskins, known to friends and family as Nannie, began a diary. This document provides valuable insights into the conditions in occupied Middle Tennessee. A young, elite Confederate sympathizer, Nannie was on the cusp of adulthood with the expectation of becoming a mistress in a slaveholding society. The war ended this prospect, and her life was forever changed. Though this is the first time the diaries have been published in full, they are well known among Civil War scholars, and voice-overs from them were used in Ken Burns's PBS program "The Civil War." Sixteen-year-old Nannie had to come to terms with Union occupation very early in the war. Amid school assignments, young friendship, social events, worries about her marital prospects, and tension with her mother, Nannie's entries also mixed information about battles, neighbors wounded in combat, U.S. Colored troops, and lawlessness in the surrounding countryside. Providing rare detail about daily life in an occupied city, Nannie's diary poignantly recounts how she and those around her continued to fight, long after the war was over, to maintain their lives in a war-torn community. Though numerous women's Civil War diaries exist, Nannie's is unique in that she also recounts her postwar life and the unexpected financial struggles she and her family experienced in the post-Reconstruction South. Nannie represents a generation of young women born into a society based on slavery but who faced mature adulthood in an entirely new world of decreasing farm values, increasing industrialization, and young women entering the workforce.--From publisher description.

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