Special Collections Graphic Image "Four years have dealt us many sad blows":
The Civil War Experience of the Men of Randolph-Macon College

In 1861, talk of secession transformed into armed conflict.

Many of the men educated at Randolph-Macon College in the preceding 29 years responded to the calls of their state militias to serve, while others later enlisted or were conscripted into the Confederate or Union armies. Others served in public office, or were ultimately drawn into the conflict in the last days in reserve units in local defense.

The project title is quoted from Leroy Summerfield Edwards' diary entry on March 31, 1865, shortly after he returned to Richmond after several months as a prisoner of war in Elmira, NY; and after spending the previous 3 years in the Company E of the 12th Virginia Infantry, C.S.A. His wartime letters, several diaries, and other materials from his days as a student at the Boydton campus (1857-1859; A.B. 1866) through his later life as an educator in Richmond and a trustee of the college are in the R-MC archives.

Several others left behind letters, diaries, or detailed accounts of their war experience. For most, only a minimum of information on their war service survives.

These are some of their stories. Hundreds of additional stories have been told and compiled on the blog "The Men of Randolph-Macon College and the Civil War" at

Slavery, Secession and R-MC
Leroy Summerfield Edwards, R-MC Class of 1859
The Fates of Leroy S. Edwards' Classmates in the R-MC Class of 1859
Personal Accounts of the Civil War by R-MC Alumni

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