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.
"The Confederacy's woman diarists left us our best inside view on the daily life of the people of the South in wartime. They had the leisure to write, were deeply invested in the war effort, and afforded a more nuanced view than many men. Standing tall among those that have survived is Judith Brokenbrough McGuire's wonderful inside portrait of life in Richmond's middle class. Thanks to editor James I. Robertson's exhaustive annotations, her daily entries cast even more light now than before, transforming what has always been an important book into a vital foundational document on the inner life of the doomed Confederacy." -- William C. Davis, author of Lincoln's Men: How President Lincoln Became Father to an Army and a Nation
"Long valued by students of the Civil War, Judith McGuire's vivid account suffered from inadequate context -- until now. At the hands of a master chronicler of the war, we now can read McGuire with fresh eyes and relive with her the hopes, tribulations, despondency, and endurance of a singular southern woman." -- Nelson D. Lankford, editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography and author of Cry Havoc! The Crooked War to Civil War, 1861
"Erudite, devout and uncompromising in her loyalty and love of Virginia and the South, Judith Brockenbrough McGuire experienced the American Civil War early as a refugee from her home in Alexandria and remained true to the Confederacy until the close of the conflict. Ably edited and annotated by the distinguished author and historian, James I. Robertson Jr., McGuire's diary exhibits the dignity and poignancy with which she confronted the many challenges and travails thrust upon her amidst the maelstrom of war." -- Brian Wills, Director, Civil War Center, Kennesaw State University
"Her vivid account of life during the Civil War now includes vital details not given in the original text." -- Southside Sentinel