1995 32¢ Mary Chestnut
Issue Date: June 29, 1995
City: Gettysburg, PA
Quantity: 15,000,000 panes of 20
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
The release of the 20 Civil War stamps marked the most extensive effort in the history of the U.S. Postal Service to review and verify the historical accuracy of stamp subjects. Each of the 16 individuals and four battles featured were chosen from a master list of 50 subjects, which included Presidents, generals, major battles, rank-and-file soldiers, women, African and Native Americans, and abolitionists. The goal of the U.S.P.S. was to show the wide variety of people who participated in the Civil War.
As the daughter of a South Carolina governor and U.S. Senator, Mary Boykin Miller was immersed in politics from childhood. At age 17 she married James Chestnut, Jr. The only surviving son of one of the largest landowners in the state, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1858 – a position he resigned from when Lincoln was elected President. He then returned south as a delegate to the Confederate Provisional Congress, and later served as personal aide to Jefferson Davis.
Mary was a popular hostess, and her hotel quarters in Montgomery soon became a fashionable salon where the elite of the new Confederacy came to socialize and exchange information. Aware of the magnitude of the events unfolding around her, she began keeping a diary in February 1861. Everything Mary saw and heard she candidly recorded, from political rumors and firsthand reports of battles, to wartime romances, parties, and funerals.
Excerpts from her journals appeared in the Saturday Evening Post under the title “A Diary from Dixie,” and later several heavily revised editions were also published.