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Myrta Lockett Avary
A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865
New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1903.


Myrta Lockett Avary was born in Virginia in 1857. She married Dr. James Corbin Avary of Atlanta, and the couple moved to New York City, where she worked on the editorial boards of several prominent magazines. Her interest in sociological and historical work about the South led her to collect and edit the memories of a southern woman and her husband, who had been a Confederate officer. The collection, A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, was published in 1903.

Although Avary attests to the truth of the narrative, A Virginia Girl, and relates the story in the woman's own words, she uses aliases to protect the privacy of the couple. The narrator, called Nellie, was born to a banker in Norfolk, Virginia, and she married Dan Grey when she was seventeen. When the Civil War began shortly after their marriage, Nellie frequently accompanied her husband in his travels around the South. In her tale, Nellie describes the behavior of Confederate officers and soldiers away from the battlefield. Nellie's account includes descriptions of her friendship with General J.E.B. Stuart. Separated from each other on occasion, the narrative closes with Dan and Nellie's reunion as the Confederacy surrendered.

Works Consulted: Knight, Lucian Lamar, comp., Biographical Dictionary of Southern Authors, Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1978.

Harris Henderson

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