Cover: From Underground Railroad to Rebel Refuge: Canada and the Civil War by Brian Martin

From Underground Railroad to Rebel Refuge: Canada and the Civil War

Martin, Brian

  • Filled with engaging stories and astonishing facts, From Underground Railroad to Rebel Refuge examines the role of Canadians in the American Civil War

    Despite all we know about the Civil War, its causes, battles, characters, issues, impacts, and legacy, few books have explored Canada’s role in the bloody conflict that claimed more than 600,000 lives.

    A surprising 20,000 Canadians went south to take up arms on both sides of the conflict, while thousands of enslaved people, draft dodgers, deserters, recruiters, plotters, and spies fled northward to take shelter in the attic that is Canada. Though many escaped slavery and found safety through the Underground Railroad, they were later joined by KKK members wanted for murder. Confederate President Jefferson Davis along with several of his emissaries and generals found refuge on Canadian soil, and many plantation owners moved north of the border.

    Award-winning journalist Brian Martin will open eyes in both Canada and the United States to how the two countries and their citizens interacted during the Civil War and the troubled times that surrounded it.


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  • Brian Martin was an award-winning journalist for more than 40 years, telling the stories of Southwestern Ontario, where most of From Underground Railroad to Rebel Refuge takes place. He has written two true crime books, several biographies and baseball histories, and is a member of two historical societies. He lives in London, ON.

  • Published: October 2022

    ISBN: 9781770416383

    Dimensions: 5.75 x 8.75 in.

    Pages: 352


“Martin offers a well-researched and lively account, rich with fascinating characters and sparkling anecdotes. He skillfully explores an important era in Canada’s development when it banned slavery, offered sanctuary to those escaping it, played significant roles in the Civil War that was fought to end it, and later provided asylum to Confederates who had battled to keep it.” — John Boyko, author of Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation

“This book will make armchair historians head for the easy chair tonight. From Underground Railroad to Rebel Refuge will introduce you to a new set of heroes and villains. And if your goal is to learn more about American history, this book about Canada will get you right on track.” — The Miami Times

“This should be obligatory reading for serious Civil War, Canadian and international history buffs.” — The Passionate Reader blog

“Several good books have been written about Canadians in the Civil War. But the story of how Canada was a Confederate base and refuge during and after the Civil War was a black hole. Not anymore.” — Mark Bourrie, award-winning author of Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson

“Martin’s book is fast-paced, informative, jaw-dropping and revelatory. It’s a non-fiction volume that reads at times like a thriller, with each chapter leaving you waiting for the surprises to come in the next.” — The Niagara-on-the-Lake Local