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All for the Union: The Civil War Diary & Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes
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All for the Union: The Civil War Diary & Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  708 ratings  ·  33 reviews
All for the Union is the eloquent and moving diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, who enlisted into the Union Army as a private in 1861 and left it four years later as a 23-year-old lieutenant colonel after fighting hard and honorably in battles from Bull Run to Appomattox. Anyone who heard these diaries excerpted on the PBS-TV series The Civil War will recognize his accounts of ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published July 28th 1992 by Vintage (first published March 13th 1991)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  708 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Elisha Hunt Rhodes is an interesting character. He was pretty much everywhere in the eastern part of the war. Bull Run, Antietam (though he only saw it, did not fight), Gettysburg, Petersburg, the Shenandoah campaign, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Seven Pines, Appomattox Court House. And while he started as a private, he ended the war commanding his regiment as a full Colonel. At 23 years old.

This is an engaging book, edited originally by Rhodes himself. You learn a good deal about daily army
MaryAnn (EmilyD1037)
This book and its story lived up to all
the hype concerning it. I loved The Civil
War series and read this because of it.
He did a great job of describing the day
by day life of a soldier. He downplayed
his role in the battles, you don't go from
private to Lt. Colonel by just being cautious.

The rest sounded so familiar to what I went
thru as a veteran, not in battle but day to day.

I recommend it to Civil War and history buffs.
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
No PTSD for this soldier, who could sleep on a field among the dead and dying, and wake to enjoy a good breakfast. His spare descriptions of battles, were more gruesome than if he added gory details.
Miles Watson
May 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Like many people, I came to "know" Elisha Hunt Rhodes from the epic Ken Burns documentary "The Civil War." His letters and correspondence were frequently quoted throughout that series, and I grew curious about him and finally bought his memoirs to satisfy that curiosity. Rhodes was a remarkable man who joined the Union army at 19 as a private, and ended the war as a 24 year-old colonel who had fought in every major battle from Bull Run (the first) to Appomattox (the last). Rhodes was a typical ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've had this on my bookshelf since shortly after the first airing of Ken Burns' documentary, "The Civil War." I am pleased to say I enjoyed it very much. It will not be to everyone's taste, as it is an almost day-by-day accounting of Elisha Hunt Rhodes' four years in the Union Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. As a journal, it is a wonder of detail and the minutiae of everyday Army life--marching, making camp, digging fortifications, foraging, making the most of small entertainments, ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it liked it
It was a good read as far as Diaries and Letters. You follow a young man through the war fighting on the Union side as he ranks up and matures. Sadly, you can really feel the one sided mentality that people take when fighting a war. Even in his letters he minimizes losses and speaks extremely highly of any victory. Certainly a good read, but not what I was expecting based on the hype around this book.
Raving Redcoat
A fascinating look at a regiment that fought for the Army of the Potomac from First Manassas to Appomattox. This is not history in the grand scope, but the day-to-day drudgery of a single regiment as it camped, marched, and fought (both on the front line, and in reserve). What I found truly fascinating is how Rhodes reveals himself as more of a Unionist than an Abolitionist. A solid book for people interested in American Civil War, or in Rhode Island history.
Ronald Kenneth Fallows
The Civil War from the perspective of a Yankee soldier

Good easy to follow overview for those interested in the American Civil War. Also provided an insight into the day to day life of a typical service man who progressed through the ranks. Particularly enjoyed the introduction
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much. Elisha H. Rhodes is the type of person that reading his journals make you lonesome for him. You fall in love with him, you get invested in the civil war in a way that you never were before, and you cry and cheer with him. I teared up as I finished the book.
Paul LaFontaine
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent view into the operations of the Union Army that follows the career of Elisha Hunt Rhodes. Much of the experience is boring. Camp life, army life. What is fascinating is that his commitment to the cause and to serving never seems to waver.

Highly recommend
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best Civil War memoir I have ever read. Extremely well written and compelling.
Jeff Leonard
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
A surprisingly upbeat first-hand account of the war as told by Rhodes' own diary entries. Fascinating to see how much of the Eastern theater's famous locations he made it into, and out of.
Jason Noel
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Amy Sawyer
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Pretty straightforward diary. Civil War military enthusiasts will enjoy this account.
John Richley
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Better than expected. Offers insight of the life of a common man and soldier who helped saved the Union.
Steven Peterson
Sep 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
We have works on the Civil War written by generals (e.g., the memoirs of Ulysses Grant and James Longstreet) and other officers (E. P. Alexander, Moxley Sorrell). However, equally valuable is the view from the bottom, by the foot soldiers. From the Confederate side, the paradigm example is Sam Watkins, "Company Aytch". From the Union side, Elisha Hunt Rhodes fills the bill. He rose through the ranks, and his diaries and letters provide a first-hand, ground-level view of the war in the east. As ...more
Victor Davis
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: civil-war
Rhodes is a charming model citizen and soldier. He captures the war experience better than some literary figures with his modesty, faith, and writing ability. I can see why he featured so highly in PBS' narrative research, and why this diary has become so important in the Civil War annals. One thing I didn't get out of this book, that I was hoping to, was some exposition about the cause of the north. Rhodes uses phrases like "it is all for the Union" and "a belief that our cause will prevail" ...more
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Civil War Diary: "All for the Union" by Elisha Hunt Rhodes This book is the diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes of the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers which served during the Civil War. Rhodes keep a diary of his activities and movements and also shares some letters which he sent. The book gives the idea of life in the Union Army. Rhodes moves up through the ranks to Colonel in his time and serves from Bull Run to Appomattox court house.I read this book to my boys as a "read aloud" to accompany our studies ...more
Amber Meller
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
interesting and gripping, it is clear and I feel well informed after reading it. He was lucky to survive as long as he did and climbed as high as he did. He survived some heavy fighting and lived to tell the tale. An inspiration to some as he was a regular person like you and me and yet he rose to the occasion and rose high as a thanks to others, who believed in and recognised in him. A read for anyone who is interested in this kind of thing.
Chris Wolfington
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is not a regular memoir, but a journal; it contains the dated entries of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, who served in the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War.

The journal format has its strengths and weaknesses; it can get dry at times, but the major events of the book shine with the vigor of fresh experience and memory. It's also interesting how Rhodes was promoted throughout the war, so we seem him go from fighting in the ranks, to eventually commanding a regiment of infantry.
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Good first person account of serving for Rhode Island. The author's writings were featured in Mr. Burn's documentary. I wish there were more details but eh, if I were trying to survive from 1861-5 I might be a little terse as well.
Tim Pafundi
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book shortly after seeing it narrated in the PBS Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War. It was a great read. Fascinating to the diaries of anyone who was an active participant in this bloodiest of American wars. Highly recommended!
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Good diary of one young man's war experience, written from the perspective on a soldier who rose through the ranks and participated in many of the major battles including Gettsyburg. It gives more perspective on the mundane day to day activities of the soldiers.
Geoff Wisner
Jul 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
George Templeton Strong's is still the preeminent Civil War diary, but he never actually fought in battle. Rhodes was with the Army of the Potomac from Bull Run to Appomattox, and he tells the story clearly and well.
Willa Guadalupe Grant
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: civil war history buffs
If you watched the Civil War series on PBS you heard quite a few quotes from Elisha Hunt Rhodes & they sounded good but if you read his diary he seems like a priggish, pain in the ass prude. It is a good history lesson,but I found the author to be completely unsympathetic & uninteresting.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Classic and insightful
Jul 01, 2008 rated it liked it
One of the best Journals from the war.
Jun 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Civil War diary of a soldier from RI.
Jan 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great civil war account. If you watched Ken Burns series, this was extensively quoted.
Bill Lenoir
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look at the American Civil War in the east through the eyes of someone who was there at the beginning as a 19 year old private and at the end as a 23 year old colonel.
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