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Elisha Hunt Rhodes
Personal Information
Born: March 21, 1842(1842-03-21)
Place of Birth: {{{place of birth}}}
Died: January 14, 1917 (aged 74)
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Other Information
Allegiance: United States of America
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Branch: Union Army
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Rank: Brigadier General
Service number : {{{servicenumber}}}
Unit: Company D, 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry
Commands: Rhode Island state militia
Battles: American Civil War
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Other work: {{{otherwork}}}

Elisha Hunt Rhodes (March 21, 1842 – January 14, 1917) served in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War. Rhodes' illustrative diary of his war service was quoted prominently in Ken Burns' PBS documentary The Civil War.

Early life[]

Rhodes was born in Providence, Rhode Island, to Captain Elisha H. and Eliza A. Rhodes. He had several sisters and two brothers. At age 14, Rhodes went to a business academy. His father was drowned in the shipwreck of his schooner Worcester in a hurricane on December 10, 1858 and buried on Linyards Cay, Abaco in the Bahamas.

Civil War[]

Rhodes enlisted in the war with his mother's permission. At first he believed war to be an adventure. During the Civil War, he advanced from private in Company D of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry to colonel of the regiment.

Postbellum career[]

After the war, he became a successful businessman and became active in veteran's affairs. He never missed a regimental reunion. From 1879 until 1893 he served as Brigadier General in command of the Rhode Island State Militia. Elisha Hunt Rhodes is most remembered for the wartime journal and letters published as All For the Union by a great-grandson, Robert H. Rhodes. This diary reflects the change in Rhodes's ideas about war greatly, and shows how he just wanted to be home with his family after seeing so much death and suffering. His writings were made famous by their incorporation into Ken Burns's PBS-TV serial documentary film The Civil War. He married Caroline Pearce Hunt on June 12, 1866 and had a son, Frederick Miller Rhodes and a daughter Alice Caroline Rhodes Chace. His large collection of personal relics and mementos is now owned by the Rhode Island Historical Society in Providence.


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  • GAR veterans bio of Rhodes
  • The Union Army; A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States, 1861–65 — Records of the Regiments in the Union Army — Cyclopedia of Battles — Memoirs of Commanders and Soldiers, Federal Publishing Company (Madison, Wisconsin), 1908 (reprinted by Broadfoot Publishing, 1997), Volume 1, pp. 228–30.

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