The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Southern 6migr6s to the Honduras, hotel registries from Belize City, and a good
bibliography. Overall, Confederate Settlements zn the Honduras is a valuable account
of a little-known episode in Southern history.
Anderson Universzty BRIAN R. DIRCK
A Rebel Wzfe zn Texas: The Diary and Letters of Elizabeth Scott Neblett, 1852-1864.
Edited by Erika L. Murr. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,
2ool. Pp. xiii+476. Preface, abbreviations, introduction, epilogue, bibliogra-
phy, index. ISBN 0-8071-2702-7. $49.95, cloth.)
Elizabeth Scott began keeping a diary in 1852 when her fiance, Will Neblett,
presented her with a blank book. Very consciously, Lizzie prepared her diary for
her fiance, if not others as well, to read. At the age of nineteen, her diary fo-
cused on the concerns of a young southern woman considering matrimony. The
frequent literary references scattered throughout the diary indicate her educa-
tion as well as a desire to excel at her writing endeavor. Although not always of
the highest literary value, Lizzie's writings throughout her life are indeed articu-
late, self-reflective, and as Will comments, "far above mediocrity" (p. 454).
Not only is Lizzie a good and interesting writer, but editor Erika Murr has
done an excellent job in compiling and annotating Lizzie's 1852-1855 diary
and the weekly letters between Lizzie and Will Neblett from 1863-1864. The di-
ary makes up a small portion of A Rebel Wzfe in Texas, but provides very important
background into understanding Lizzie and Will's interactions during the Civil
War itself. The diary and letters clearly show Lizzie's love for Will, but even be-
fore her marriage the constrictions of southern womanhood helped deepen
Lizzie's predisposition toward depression. Despite the fact that her family never
believed Lizzie would make a good wife and mother, Lizzie and Will do marry.
Even though the marriage begins inauspiciously with her husband "dangerously
sick," Lizzie seems satisfied with married life and continues her self-reflection (p.
51). She even remains in "such good spirits" as she looks forward to the arrival
of her first child (p. 66).
Upon becoming a mother, Lizzie quits keeping her diary regularly. The spo-
radic entries, however, hint that the depression that haunted her as a teenager
engulfs her after the births of her children. When Will enlists in the Twentieth
Texas Infantry and is stationed at Galveston, two years of letters between the two
clearly show Lizzie's frustration at her restricted role of wife and mother and the
depression that causes her. That Lizzie must perform male duties for which she
was not prepared in addition to the all-consuming female tasks makes her wish
that her daughter had never been born. About her infant daughter, Lizzie even
laments, "tis awful ... to think of raising her to fulfill woman's destiny, marry &
bring forth" (p. 219).
Lizzie Neblett is not a typical Texas or southern woman. Nonetheless, the writ-
ings collected in this volume can reveal layers of significance in the understand-
ing of nineteenth-century Texas during the Civil War era. From the difficulty of
running a plantation and dealing with slaves and overseers in a time of war to
the patterns of visiting and kinship, these letters offer valuable new insights. The

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed August 30, 2014.