Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer


The Civil War cast a shadow of despair over the divided nation as it left an estimated 620,000 men—roughly 2% of the population—dead on American soil, killed by American hands. Death and the Civil War are two subjects that are synonymous with one another; it is impossible to write on the war without commenting on its immense number of casualties. That said, relatively little is known about suicides behind the front lines. Only weeks after the end of the Civil War, Virginian Edmund Ruffin, a proud supporter of the Confederacy, lifted his rifle, placed the muzzle in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Ruffin’s death was the most famous suicide of the Civil War era, but it was far from the only one.

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