Mary Ann Loughborough

Mary Ann Webster Loughborough (1836–1887). Collection: Old Court House Museum, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Author of the most celebrated in-person account of the siege of Vicksburg, Mary Ann Webster Loughborough (1836–1887) was born in Phelps, New York, to Ashbel and Julia Webster. She was married in 1857 to Kentucky-born James Moore Loughborough (1833–1876), and the couple resided in St. Louis, Missouri, where they acquired pronounced Southern sympathies. Joining the Confederate army shortly after the start of the Civil War, James Loughborough rose to the rank of major and served on the staffs of generals Sterling Price, Thomas Moore, and Francis Cockrell. Following a practice not uncommon among the wives of officers, Mary Ann, with her young daughter Jean in tow, followed her husband wherever he was stationed. On April 15, 1863, they arrived in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The diary she kept over the next several months formed the basis for the 1864 publication My Cave Life in Vicksburg, a gripping account of the deprivations suffered by the civilian population as the Union army surrounded the city. The popularity of this work in both the North and the South led to its republication in 1881. Following the war, James and Mary Ann Loughborough moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they raised three additional children. In 1883, Mary Ann Loughborough founded and edited The Southern Ladies Journal.

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