Civilians under siege: A Confederate woman’s diary of the war in the Trans-Mississippi
I first encountered Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861–1868 in an undergraduate course on the topic of great Civil War writers. Looking at the syllabus at the start of the term, I circled the diary as a text I was not particularly excited about. To me, the story of a woman living far from the war’s Virginia epicenter held little interest. What I quickly discovered, however, is that Kate Stone’s wartime record featured an intensely relatable story of civilians living in a place ravaged by war—as well as being the tale of a young woman who was only twenty years old in 1861, and who was just as concerned with skin blemishes and the latest fashions as she was with news from the front. The diary is an indispensable record of the war in the Trans-Mississippi West as lived by civilians.