Further considerations on suicides among union forces during the U.S. Civil War

Jeffrey A. Smith, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In their thoughtful commentary McCutcheon et al. (2013) remind us that caution is warranted in interpreting military suicide data, in part due to the possible political, leadership, and morale pressures to disguise suicides that may have existed during the U.S. Civil War. While we agree generally, we offer further considerations on suicides among Union forces during the war. We discuss the integrity of the data source, the ratio of homicides to suicides, contemporaneous journalistic accounts regarding cultural acceptance of suicide, seasonal variations in suicides, and Dyer's Compendium. All of these points suggest support for our initial argument that suicide rates during the U.S. Civil War were much lower than modern U.S. military suicide rates. We agree with McCutcheon et al. that geography and history remind us there is good reasons to be optimistic that the psychological consequences of war are not inevitably devastating to all those who serve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-546
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013


  • Civil war
  • Combat
  • Homicide
  • Military
  • PTSD
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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