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Embattled FreedomJourneys through the Civil War's Slave Refugee Camps$
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Amy Murrell Taylor

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469643625

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469643625.001.0001

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Grappling with Loss

Grappling with Loss

(p.209) 8 Grappling with Loss
Embattled Freedom

Amy Murrell Taylor

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines how victory for the Union could bring loss for the residents of the refugee camps. The army’s gradual demobilization meant the loss of employment and the loss of wages for many of them, as well as the loss of physical protection. President Andrew Johnson’s decision to return abandoned and confiscated land to ex-Confederates, rather than pursue a policy of land redistribution for freedpeople, also brought another kind of loss. Most of the refugee camps were built on these lands and therefore were closed by federal authorities over the course of 1865 and 1866. This resulted in the loss of houses, gardens, churches, schools, and stores built by the refugees, despite their vigorous protests. They were then uprooted and forced to confront the extreme difficulty of trying to purchase property from hostile ex-Confederates and resettling elsewhere.

Keywords:   demobilization, wages, physical protection, Andrew Johnson, abandoned land, confiscated land, land redistribution, houses, property

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