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A Genuine Voice from the Civil War
on May 9, 2014
I was a good friend of Jimmy Rhodes, a direct descendant of this Civil War hero from Rhode Island, in grade school. I am proud to note the author hailed from my native state of "Little Rhody." This particular primary source from the Civil War was utilized by Ken Burns' in his Civil War series with great success. Rhodes was a participant in many if the major battles ranging from Bull Run all the way through Appomattox. And like many others he quickly rose from the rank of lowly private to a Colonel by the time the War was over, and he was a proud member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans organization for many years following the war's conclusion. His writing voice is clear and descriptive. He is an unabashed patriot for the Union cause, as the title of this work suggests. He is unquestionably brave, and writes movingly about the horrors of combat, bringing the conflict to life in a brutal, vivid way. Rhodes, to repeat, is a hero, just as much as the glory-seeking Joshua Chamberlain from the 20th Maine, who after his exploits on Little Round Top at Gettysburg spent the remainder of his life touting his singular leadership and bravery (this is not to knock or question Chamberlain's bravery, he was wounded four or five times during the war, it's just that Chamberlain spent so much time bragging about himself once the war ended). Rhodes, on the other hand, is not nearly as obnoxious. The focus of Rhodes' writing is not on himself, but on the conflict around him, the men, the misery, the futility of war. And love of country reasonates throughout the read. Highly recommended read.