This is the original diary of the wife of Confederate General James Chesnut, Jr., who was an aide to President Jefferson Davis. It is a fascinating narrative of all the years of the American Civil War. It focuses on the daily lives and hardships of all who suffered through the war, from ordinary people to the Confederacy's generals and political elite. Mary Chesnut's prose has lost none of its provocative bite through the ages: "I think incompatibility of temper began when it was made plain to us that we get all the opprobrium of slavery while they, with their tariff, get the money there is in it." Nor any of its ironic sense of humor: "We try our soldiers to see if they are hot enough before we enlist them. If, when water is thrown on them they do not sizzle, they won't do; their patriotism is too cool."