Elisha H. Rhodes

All Titles

  • Elisha H. Rhodes

Dublin Core


Elisha H. Rhodes


Image of Elisha H. Rhodes.

Rhodes was born in Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, to Captain Elisha H. Rhodes and Eliza A. Chase. He had several sisters and two brothers. At age 14, Rhodes attended Potter and Hammond's Business Academy in Providence.

His father drowned when his schooner, the merchant ship Worcester, was sunk by a hurricane on December 10, 1858. He was buried on Linyards Cay, Abaco in the Bahamas.

Rhodes served with the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry throughout its service during the American Civil War.

Rhodes enlisted in the war with his mother's permission. At first he believed war to be an adventure. During the war, he advanced from corporal to lieutenant colonel in command of the regiment.

He enlisted on June 5, 1861 and was appointed to the rank of corporal. He was promoted to sergeant major on March 1, 1862 and to 2nd lieutenant on July 24 of the same year.

On April 15, 1863 he was promoted to 1st lieutenant and placed in command of Company B. He became the regiment's adjutant, with the rank of 1st lieutenant, on November 6, 1863. He served in this capacity until the regiment was reorganized on June 17, 1864.

On June 21, 1864 he was promoted to captain and assigned to Company B but was also ordered to command the regiment, which he did for the remainder of the war. He received a brevet (honorary promotion) to the rank of major on December 5, 1864.

On February 6, 1865 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and placed in command of the regiment. On April 2 he received a brevet to the rank of colonel in recognition of his service in the Petersburg campaign. He was mustered out of service, along with his regiment, on July 13, 1865.

After the war, he became a successful businessman and became active in veterans' affairs. He never missed a regimental reunion of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry.

He married Caroline Pearce Hunt (1841–1930) on June 12, 1866 and had a son, Frederick Miller Rhodes and a daughter Alice Caroline Rhodes Chace.

He was appointed, as collector of U. S. internal revenue of Rhode Island, in 1875.

From 1879 until 1893 he served as the commander of the Rhode Island Militia with the rank of brigadier general. During his time in office he helped transform the militia into a more professional organization and established the state training ground at Quonset Point in North Kingstown.

Rhodes died in Providence on January 14, 1917. He and his wife are buried at the Rhodes family plot in the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence.Elisha Hunt Rhodes is most remembered for his wartime journal and letters published as All For the Union by a great-grandson, Robert H. Rhodes. This diary reflects the change in Rhodes' 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 filmmaker Ken Burns' PBS-TV documentary series The Civil War.

Source: Elisha Hunt Rhodes From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See also:

Rhode Island State Archives Resources

A Battle Hard Fought - Rhode Island and the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Observance

Civil War – Commission to Preserve the Military Records of the State

Military Records - Civil War

Civil War Recruitment Book (1861)

Board of Military Enrollment

Adjutant General - Orders Received, Executive Department (1857 - 1858;1861; 1863)

Civil War - Record Book, Orders received, First Detached Militia / Tenth Rhode Island Volunteers (1861 - 1862)

Rhode Island Militia - Enrolled Men, Town Returns (1843 - 1898)

Additional Resources

National Archives Civil War Photographs

National Archives Civil War Records

National Archives The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady

Library of Congress US Civil War: Selected Resources





Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format




"Elisha H. Rhodes," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #684, http://sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/684 (accessed December 13, 2018).