Refugees and movement in the Civil War

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

The Civil War generated mass migrations across the Confederacy and the Border South. Called by many names – refugees, contrabands, fugitives, buffaloes – civilians took to the road, hoping variously to find sanctuary, escape persecution, or secure freedom. The panoply of terms used to describe dislocated civilians reflected the diversity of their experiences: refugee planters and runaway slaves both fled the plantation but for radically different reasons and under different conditions. For the most part, historians have replicated this linguistic segmentation of Civil War refugees in their scholarship. Mary Elizabeth Massey’s 1964 Refugee Life in the Confederacy, for instance, focused almost exclusively on pro-Confederate white civilians who left home to find refuge within the shrinking bounds of the Confederacy. More recently, a number of historians have examined the approximately 500,000 African Americans who fled slavery during the Civil War. Since 1976, the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland has published a series of volumes drawn from National Archives collections documenting the black refugee experience.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge History of the American Civil War
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 3: Affairs of the People
EditorsAaron Sheehan-Dean
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9781316650721
ISBN (Print)9781107154544
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Publication series

NameCambridge Histories
PublisherCambridge University Press


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