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Belle Edmondson, 1840-1873
Diary of Belle Edmondson, January - November, 1864
: Transcript of the manuscript, UNC-Chapel Hill, Southern Historical Collection, .


Isabella Buchanan Edmondson was born in 1840 in Pontotoc, Mississippi to Mary Ann and Andrew Jackson Edmondson. In 1849, her father was elected clerk of courts in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and Belle and her sisters attended the nearby Franklin Female College. The family relocated again in 1860 to a farm in Shelby County, Tennessee, outside of Memphis. Belle ardently supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. She probably began smuggling supplies and funds to the Confederate army in 1862, after the fall of Memphis, and served as a Confederate agent throughout the war. In July 1864, she fled south, because the United States had issued a warrant for her arrest. Edmondson was engaged three times. Twice her suitors canceled their engagement, while the third was announced only two weeks before her sudden death in 1873.

Edmondson's diary documents her daily routine from January through November 1864. Most of her short entries are simple reports about daily events, while occasionally she expresses her devotion to the Confederate cause. Edmondson also records contemporary news from the front, the activities of her family and the family's slaves, and a trip to Mississippi, where she visited Generals Forrest and Chalmers.

Work Consulted: Galbraith, Loretta and William, eds., A Lost Heroine of the Confederacy: The Diaries and Letters of Belle Edmondson, Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1990.

Harris Henderson

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