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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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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.
"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
Top Customer Reviews
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."
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Easy read. Not what I expected. I think slightly over-rated though certainly worth having.Published 2 months ago by would man
Classic book that should by everyone interested in the civil war.Published 3 months ago by David Marshall
A fine journey of a dedicated and courageous soldier,often quoted in Ken Burns,The Civil War documentary.Published 8 months ago by Srvivore
A good look at the war from a man that started low in rank and advanced. His outlook on what was going on is truthful and enlightening. Read morePublished 8 months ago by pack88jp
Great book! As a contrast to Pvt.Sam Watkins "Co Aytch" this is written as a diary rather than a retrospective. Read morePublished 12 months ago by maddogpilot
If you are a well-studied Civil War buff, this is the book for you. If you are just starting out on the pursuit of learning the history of the great American Civil War -- the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Philip McCarron