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All for the Union: The Civil War Diary & Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes Paperback – July 28, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Civil War Library ed edition (July 28, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679738282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679738282
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Featured in the PBS-TV documentary The Civil War , Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes's diary chronicles that bloody conflict from Bull Run to Appomattox. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"One of the best firsthand accounts I have read of campaigning and combat in the Civil War." -- James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom

"One of the most remarkable diaries I have ever read. Elisha Hunt Rhodes saw action from Bull Run to Appomattox and somehow survived, and his diary came to represent, better than any other I found, the spirit of the Union soldier." -- Ken Burns, director and writer of The Civil War

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Amazing read, you won't put it down.
Yesenia Luke
Rhodes' was really an ideal soldier and loved the life.
Todd E. Newman
Written in diary form, but very readable.
roperdan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on August 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Men of a simpiler time were made of much harder and enduring stuff than our contemporaries.
From age nineteen to twenty three, Elisha Hunt Rhodes endured almost all of the worst that a full tour of duty with the Army of the Potomac entailed. Frequently cold, wet, tired and unfed, preiodically the witness to death, destruction incompetence and poor generalship, he endured knowing that it was "All for the Union."
This book gives a great soldier's eye view of the Civil War experience. Knowing more of the fear and boredom that were Rhode's life (and that of all line troops) while generals contemplated their moves rounds, out one's understanding of the Civil War.
Easy to read, Rhodes is a good writer who convey's scenes and experiences with an economy of words.
This is the type of book one would be tempted to read by pulling an "all-nighter."
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rheumor on September 12, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best war diary I have read, and for many reasons. Elisha Rhodes has an excellent, straightforward writing style with very good grammatical structure. This makes the diary easy to follow. He was involved in virtually the entire war fought by the Army of the Potomac, and so it is pretty much a complete history in that sense.
At the same time, this private who ultimately became a colonel (in his early 20s!) remains about as unaffected as a man could be. Nothing good or bad really changes his simple and honest view of the war's ultimate justice, and many times he refers to the sacrifices as being easily justified by the gain of saving the union and of freeing the slaves.
He is religious but not judgmental, and never does he develop any real hatred of the enemy. He does his duty with a minimum of fuss. He enjoys his army life, but is quite happy to return to civilian life at the end.
Maybe most interesting to me was his innocent myopia. He never really knew the "big picture" of how the overall war was being fought, or even what the importance of many of the battles he was involved in might have been. He was content to leave that to the generals, and especially to Grant, in whom he had a great deal of trust.
This is a great weekend read for any civil war buff.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
I've read and re-read Elisha Hunt Rhodes' memoirs of the Civil War many times now, and always find additional nuances and new perspectives on every visit.
The drama and horror of the Civil War become even more vivid and personal as you read Rhodes' simple, yet expressive prose. But even more than a story of this war, "All for the Union" is a story of a young man's coming of age. Elisha joined the Union Army in 1861 with utterly no military experience whatsoever. Yet, he fought in every major campaign of the Army of the Potomac, rose to command his regiment--and somehow survived. Almost incredibly, Elisha was always around to report on the historic events of this tragic conflict as the Union Army of the Potomac engaged in its four-year death struggle with Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. There is humor, hardship, politics, adventure, and great courage detailed in these pages, which makes this a compulsive page-turner even for non-Civil War buffs.
The book includes some fine photographs, although some detailed maps of the Army of the Potomac's theater of operations would have been nice.
Highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Todd E. Newman on November 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
It isn't easy to find quality diaries written so well from the Civil War sometimes; although this book will rank with in the top 10. Popularized and quoted often in Ken Burn's Civil War series on PBS, Rhodes' book about his life as a soldier come to life. Rhodes brings the excitement and patriotic fervor of being a new recruit in the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry early in the war. This patriotic spirit never dies through out his writing. Many times he writes about the daily hardships such as bad weather, sickness and death while always falling back on the duty to ones country and the saving of the union. Rhodes' duty carries him many engagements where death lingers around every corner. Battles such as Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg are just a few that this man witnessed and wrote about firsthand. Rhodes' was really an ideal soldier and loved the life. He started the war as a private and by the end of it was a colonel. Many people would benefit from reading this book be it a historian or beginner looking to further understand soldier life in the Civil War.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Raymond H. Mullen on June 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have an extensive Civil War Library,and, once in a while, read a book that stands out alone. I postponed things I needed to do in order to finish this as close to one setting as possible.
Elisha Hunt Rhodes was a 'soldier's soldier, and a patriot's patriot. His diary will take you through the hum drum of camp life and the heat of battle. It takes you through the good times as well as the bad times. Your emotions will swing with his. Through all, Rhodes was "All for the Union."
As I finished this book, I realized this must be the best eye witness account ever written.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stevekaw on April 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book more than a decade ago after Ken Burns' series on the Civil War "discovered" Elisha Hunt Rhodes. I find the his words so compelling that I re-read this book at least once a year. As a self-professed Civil War buff, it continually amazes me that Elisha survived the carnage of four years of an absolutely brutal conflict with his optimism and values intact. Some angel was definitely looking out for him. Today, as America finds itself embroiled in another war, I take more than a little comfort in Elisha Hunt Rhodes' spirit and resilience.
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