Historians have long recognized the refugees’ importance and writers of fiction their appeal, but Mary Elizabeth Massey’s Refugee Life in the Confederacy—originally published in 1964—marks the first full telling of their story. Massey explores in vivid detail all aspects of southern refugee life. Thrilling tales of displaced people scrambling for trains or making river crossings recapture the poignancy of civilians trapped between advancing and retreating armies. Massey also examines the psychological effects of the war on the homeless, the humor they found in their difficulties, their activities in adopted communities, private and public aid for the refugees, and legislation concerning them.
With a new introduction by George C. Rable, Massey’s comprehensive study depicts the texture of refugee life like no other book before it and is essential to any thorough understanding of the Civil War.
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