(Originally broadcast 09/15/17) - During the winter of 1864, more than 3,000 Federal prisoners of war escaped from Confederate prison camps into South Carolina and North Carolina, often with the aid of local slaves. Their flight created, in the words of contemporary observers, a "Yankee plague," heralding a grim end to the Confederate cause. In The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy (2016, UNC Press) Dr. Lorien Foote, of Texas A&M University, looks at Union soldiers' flight to freedom in the last months of the Civil War.
Foote reveals new connections between the collapse of the Confederate prison system, the large-scale escape of Union soldiers, and the full unraveling of the Confederate States of America. Blending rich analysis with an engaging narrative, Foote uses these ragged Union escapees as a lens with which to assess the dying Confederate States, providing a new window into the South’s ultimate defeat.
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