Edmund Ruffin

Edmund Ruffin

Prince George County, Virginia, USA
Death 15 Jun 1865 (aged 71)
Amelia County, Virginia, USA
Burial Hanover County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 913 · View Source
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Civil War Confederate Civilian Figure. Born into a distinguished family of the Old Dominion, his knowledge of agriculture practices made him an authority on the subject. On his estate "Marlbourne", he experimented with marl and established that if applied to a crop field, one would yield a more bountiful harvest and consequently, greater profits. As the editor of the well-regarded periodical Farmers' Register, he published such innovative findings for the benefit of common farmers and plantation managers alike. He was the President of the Virginia State Agriculture Society and also counseled the state of South Carolina in its agricultural interests. During the tumultuous era leading to the American Civil War, he became a dedicated advocate of the separation of northern and southern states. A firebrand, he traveled throughout the South expressing his beliefs and was regularly in discussions on how this disjointing should take effect. In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's election as the sixteenth President of the United States, he traveled to Charleston, South Carolina and was present during the December 20, 1860 signing of the Ordinance of Secession that took the Palmetto State out of the Union. With negotiations over and with the surrender deadline for the garrison of Fort Sumter expired, South Carolina forces began a bombardment in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861. Ruffin, as an honorary member of the Palmetto Guard, is often credited with firing the first shot that commenced the Civil War. However, modern-day understanding of this event gives credence that he did not fire the initial shot, but rather his was one of the first. The four years of war that followed this occurrence was devastating to the livelihood of Ruffin. With declining health together with his depleted fortune, he received the news of the April 9, 1865 surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia poorly. On June 17, 1865, after composing an entry in his diary that expressed his "unmitigated hatred of Yankee rule", he grasped a musket and ended his life by his own hand.

Bio by: Stonewall


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 913
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Edmund Ruffin (5 Jan 1794–15 Jun 1865), Find A Grave Memorial no. 913, citing Marlbourne Estate, Hanover County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .