Josie began her diary in early December as she prepared to visit with her sister and brother-in-law in Memphis. The diary chronicled a slave wedding, parties, social calls, and romantic visits that enlivened the holidays, but more serious concerns quickly overshadowed these social festivities. Josie witnessed torchlight parades and became involved in heated political discussion while in Memphis, the hotbed of Tennessee's secession movement. The 20-year-old Josie voiced her parent's opposition to Lincoln and to secession despite her attempts to remain a soft-spoken southern belle. As one after another of the states of the Lower South seceded, the intensity and anger in these discussions increased.
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