Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Shively Meier

Second Advisor

Dr. Ryan K. Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. John Deal


This thesis crafts a narrative about how Confederate soldiers during the siege of Petersburg experienced an intensified war that caused them to refine soldierly coping mechanisms in order to endure. They faced increasing deprivations, new forms of death, fewer restrictions on killing, dwindling fortunes, and increased racial acrimony by facing African American soldiers. In order to adjust, they relied on soldierly camaraderie, Southern notions of honor, letter writing, and an increasingly firm reliance on Protestant Christianity to cope with their situation. Postwar, these veterans repurposed soldierly coping mechanisms and eventually used institutional support from their states. Camaraderie, honor, literary endeavors, and Christianity remained prevalent postwar, such as through the various emerging veterans’ organizations. However, institutional support took considerable time to appear, such as disability, pension, and soldiers’ home benefits. This required the veterans to fall back onto earlier learned mechanisms, illustrating that the status of veteran began during the conflict.


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Date of Submission