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Frances Hewitt Fearn and Rosalie Urquhart
Diary of a Refugee
New York: Moffat, Yard and Company, 1910.

Summary

Diary of a Refugee was published in 1910. The name of the diary's author is unknown, and no further information is available about her life. It is probable that this work is the Civil War diary belonging to one of Frances Hewitt Fearn's relatives, and that the young daughter in the journal, Clarice, was Fearn's mother. We do know that Fearn edited the diary and annotated it with her recollections. We also know that she dramatized the diary in a short play entitled, Let Us Now Have Peace. However, we do not know anything else about Frances Fearn.

The diary begins in 1862 on the author's plantation in Bayou LaFourche, in southern Louisiana, just after the rumored fall of New Orleans. A prominent feature in the author's daily life is her attempt to foster a positive environment for her slaves. She established a hospital for them; her husband built them a church; and the family hosted balls and parties for them. As she describes the community's preparations to flee from the advancing Union army, she expresses her gratitude for the slaves' willingness to help, despite their upcoming emancipation. To escape the northern armies, the family moved to Alexandria, Louisiana, where the food supply was limited. Sometime in 1863 or 1864 the family left for Texas, traveling through Fairfield, San Antonio, Laredo, and into Mexico before sailing to Havana, Cuba. From Cuba, they traveled to England and Paris, France, where they settled until the end of the war. They returned to live in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Harris Henderson

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