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Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War

Judith Brockenbrough McGuire. edited by James I. Robertson Jr.

Publication Year: 2013

Judith Brockenbrough McGuire's Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War is among the first of such works published after the Civil War. Although it is one of the most-quoted memoirs by a Confederate woman, James I. Robertson's edition is the first to present vital details not given in the original text. His meticulous annotations furnish references for poems and quotations, supply the names of individuals whom McGuire identifies by their initials alone, and provide an in-depth account of McGuire's extraordinary life.

Throughout the war years, McGuire made poignant entries in her diary. She wrote incisive commentaries on society, ruminated on past glories, and detailed her hardships. Her entries are a highly personal, highly revealing mixture of family activities; military reports and rumors; conditions behind the battle lines; and her observations on life, faith, and the future. In providing illuminating background and references that significantly enhance the text, Robertson's edition adds considerably to our understanding of this important work.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright

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pp. 1-8

Some of the most revealing chronicles of life during the Civil War came from the busiest people. Moreover, those who recorded lengthy observations tended to be well educated and farsighted. Judith Brockenbrough McGuire was in that relatively small class...

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May-December 1861

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pp. 9-56

At Home, May 4, 1861—I am too nervous, too wretched to-day to write in my diary, but that the employment will while away a few moments of this trying time. Our friends and neighbors have left us. Every thing is broken up. The Theological Seminary is closed; the High School dismissed. Scarcely any one is left of the many families which surrounded us. The homes all look desolate; and yet this beautiful country is looking more peaceful, more...

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January-August 1862

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pp. 57-112

Westwood,1 Hanover County, January 20, 1862—I pass over the sad leavetaking of our kind friends in Clarke [County] and Winchester. It was very sad, because we knew not when and under what circumstances we might meet again. We left Winchester, in the stage, for Strasburg at ten o’clock at night, on the 24th of December. The weather was bitter cold, and we congratulated...

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September 1862-May 1863

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pp. 113-162

Lynchburg, September 2—The papers to-day give glorious news of a victory to our arms on the plains of Manassas, on the 28th, 29th, and 30th. I will give General Lee’s telegram: ...

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June 1863-July 1864

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pp. 163-210

June 1 [1863]—L. and B.1 went up to Mr. Marye’s near Fredericksburg today, to visit their brother’s grave. They took flowers with which to adorn it. It is a sweet, though sad office, to plant flowers on a Christian’s grave. They saw my sister, who is there, nursing their wounded son.2...

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August 1864-May 1865

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pp. 211-264

August 11—Sheridan’s and Early’s troops are fighting in the Valley. We suffered a disaster near Martinsburg,1 and our troops fell back to Strasburg; had a fight on the old battle-ground at Kernstown, and we drove the enemy through Winchester to Martinsburg, which our troops took possession of.2 Poor Winchester, how checkered its history throughout the war!3


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pp. 265-266


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pp. 267-340

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 341-346


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pp. 347-360

E-ISBN-13: 9780813144382
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813144368

Page Count: 366
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: annotated edition

OCLC Number: 872122084
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Diary of a Southern Refugee during the War

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Refugees.
  • Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Refugees.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • McGuire, Judith Brockenbrough, 1813-1897 -- Diaries.
  • Women -- Virginia -- Diaries.
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