The Home Front: 1861 to 1865

Southern Diarists

Were there other Southern diaries by women?

One that really takes the reader into the Confederate hospitals is a record, rather than a diary, written some years after the events. Phoebe Yates Pember was the fourth of seven children born to a prosperous Jewish family in Charleston. She married a Northerner, but he died of tuberculosis shortly before the war began. Much like her Northern counterpart—Louisa May Alcott—Phoebe Yates Pember felt life was passing her by, and she volunteered for service in the medical hospitals. Somewhat to her surprise, she was named “matron” of one of the divisions at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. Thus commenced an adventure that is recorded in A Southern Woman’s Story.


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