In 1863, in the heart of Mississippi, a group of Confederate deserters declared their allegiance to the United States government. Over the next several months, they established a guerrilla-style band of resistance against the Confederacy and managed to outlast the cavalry expeditions that were sent to conquer them. Victoria E. Bynum’s book, The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest War, tells the story of the deserters and their community in Jones County, Mississippi—one that outlasted the Civil War and established a mixed-race community in the region. Bynum’s book, which was supported by an NEH grant, brought this history to a national audience.
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