Elisha Hunt Rhodes Papers
Soldier, of Cranston, R.I.
Papers, 1861-1930. Bulk, 1861-1865.
Size: 2.5 linear feet
Catalog number: MSS 1089
Processed by: Rick Stattler, July 2002
©Rhode Island Historical Society
Elisha Hunt Rhodes (1842-1917) was the son of Elisha H. and Eliza A. (Chace) Rhodes of Cranston, R.I. When the Civil War broke out, he was working in the office of harness maker Frederick Miller. On June 5, 1861, he enlisted as a private in the Second Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry. He received a dramatic series of promotions, the most significant when he was named regimental adjutant on November 7, 1863; became a captain on May 5, 1864; assumed command of the depleted regiment as captain on June 5, 1864; and became colonel of the regiment on July 18, 1865. He remained with the Second Regiment from its creation to the end of the war, and served in many of the war's hardest-fought battles, including First Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.
After the war, he returned to his old position in the harness-making business, and formed the short-lived harness-making partnership of Dunham & Rhodes before receiving an appointment as a federal tax collector. He served as Brigadier General of the Rhode Island Militia from 1879 to 1893, and became very prominent in state veteran affairs. He held the highest posts in the state's department of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Soldiers' and Sailors Historical Society, and the Second Rhode Island Volunteers and Battery A Veterans Association.
Gen. Rhodes married Caroline Pearce hunt in 1866 and had two children: Frederick M. Rhodes and Alice C. (Rhodes) Chace. Rhodes died on January 14, 1917, and is buried in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, R.I.
Rhodes, Elisha H., The First Campaign of the Second Rhode Island Infantry. Providence: Sidney S. Rider, 1878 (Personal Narratives of the Battles of the Rebellion, 1:1)
Rhodes, Elisha H., The Second Rhode Island Volunteers at the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia. Providence: Rhode Island soldiers and Sailors Historical Society, 1915 (Personal Narratives of the Battles of the Rebellion, 7:10)
Rhodes, Robert H., ed., All for the Union. Lincoln, R.I.: Andrew Mowbray Inc., 1985.
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Scope and content:
Almost all of this collection relates directly to Gen. Rhodes' military service. The bulk relates to his service as adjutant and then commanding officer of the Second Regiment from 1863 to 1865, including muster rolls, supply and ordnance reports, and official orders.
Rhodes' personal papers consist of his military commissions, a few scattered letters on military topics, scrapbooks of newspaper clippings and invitations, and his post-war Rhode Island Militia order book. His famous "diaries" are also included. They were compiled long after the war in 1885, mostly transcribed from diaries, letters and notes kept by Rhodes during the war. This compilation was published in 1985 by great-grandson Robert H. Rhodes as All for the Union, and remains the best-known Rhode Island Civil War memoir. The original documents that Gen. Rhodes used to compile this "diary" have unfortunately been lost to time, with the exception of two small fragments included in this collection. Also included in the collection are two diary fragments that were apparently not used in All for the Union. One appears to be a sheet taken from an original diary dated April 28 to May 2 1863, containing just a few short sentences. The other is a 48-page diary/memoir covering events in 1864 and 1865. It may have been compiled as a lecture, and is the one document in the collection that probably merits the most careful research and investigation.
Several other Rhodes-related items can be found elsewhere in the Manuscripts Division. The Civil War Military Records (Mss 673, sg 4) include three volumes of orderly books kept by Rhodes as commanding officer from June 1864 through July 1865, as well as a variety of other Second Regiment records. In the Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection (MSS 9001-R) is a letter by Rhodes regarding leave for Sgt. Cheney, December 11 1863.
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This collection was donated by Robert Hunt Rhodes, the great-grandson of Gen. Rhodes, in 2002.
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Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry
Box 1, folder 1. Clothing, camp and garrison equipage - Quarterly/monthly returns, 1863-1864
Box 1, folder 2. Clothing, camp and garrison equipage - Vouchers and lists, 1863-1864
Box 4, folder 1. Clothing rolls, 7/1863 - 4/1864
Box 4, folder 2. Clothing rolls, 5/1864 - 9/1864
Box 4, folder 3. Descriptive lists, 1865. Lists only nine soldiers:
Pvt. Christopher Simmons, Pvt. Samuel S. Vickery, Sgt. John F. Bowen, Pvt. Jarvis R. Roper, Pvt. Warren W. Button, Musician Michael McAvoy, Sgt. Benoni Sweet, Cpl. Thomas E. Jones, Musician Bernard M. Hall
Box 1, folder 3. Deserter lists, 1864-1865
Box 1, folder 4. Inventories of soldiers' effects, 1865
Box 3, volume 1. Memorandum book, 1863-1865:
Pages 11-41. Rosters of camp guards, pickets, officers of the day 1865
Pages 30-31. Camp and garrison equipage notes, 1863
Pages 56-59. Clothing notes, 1863
Pages 81-83. Items to be charged against soldiers on muster rolls, 1863?
Pages 91-93. Items to be accounted for on returns, 1863?
Page 95. General orders issued as commander of battalion, 1864
Page 187. Accounts for "B Company Fund", July 27 ---
Page 190. Soldiers out on leave, June-July 1865
Box 1, folder 4a. Morning sick report, 1/5/1865
Box 1, folder 5. Muster rolls, 8/1864 - 4/1865 (field & staff only)
Box 4, folder 4. Muster rolls, 1864-1865:
Battalion, 6/30/1864 (three sheets)
Company G, 12/31/1864 - 2/28/1865
Transfers from Company E to Company A, 6/17/1865
Box 1, folder 6. Muster-in rolls, mostly re 12/26/1863 re-enlistment, Companies A, B, C
Box 1, folder 7. Muster-in rolls, mostly re 12/26/1863 re-enlistment, Companies D, E, F, G
Box 1, folder 8. Muster-in rolls, mostly re 12/26/1863 re-enlistment, Companies H, I, K, staff
Box 1, folder 9. Muster-out rolls, 1863-1865, Companies A, B, C
Box 1, folder 10. Muster-out rolls, 1863-1865, Companies D, E, F, G
Box 1, folder 11. Muster-out rolls, 1863-1865, Companies H, I, K, staff
Box 1, folder 12. Ordnance and ordnance stores - Quarterly returns, 1863-1864
Box 1, folder 13. Ordnance and ordnance stores - Invoices and reports, 1863
Box 1, folder 14. Ordnance and ordnance stores - Invoices and reports, 1864
Box 1, folder 15. Ordnance and ordnance stores - Statements and orders, 1864 and undated
Box 1, folder 16. Passes, 1861-1865
Box 1, folder 17. Pay receipts, 1863
Box 1, folder 18. Re-enlistment certificates, 12/26/1863
Box 1, folder 19. Re-enlistment certificate, 1864
Box 1, folder 20. Register of commissioned officers, 1/1/1865
Box 4, folder 5. Returns of deceased soldiers (quarterly reports) 1864-1865; annual return of alterations and casualties, 1865
Box 1, folder 21. Statements of charges on muster and pay rolls, 1863-1864
Box 1, folder 22. Transportation receipts, 1863
Box 1, folder 22a. Newspaper photo of Arnold Block in Providence, RI where Co. D mustered
with brief explanation on the back written by Rhodes, 2/11/1913
Box 1, folder 23. "Civil and Military Record of Gen. Frank Wheaton," updated through 1903
Box 4, folder 6. Commissions and other documents, as follows:
1864/06/21 Captain, 2nd R.I. Infantry, signed by Gov. James Y. Smith.
1865/01/31 Lt. Colonel, 2nd R.I. Infantry, signed by Gov. Smith
1865/04/20 Brevet Major, U.S. Volunteers, signed by Pres. Andrew Johnson and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
1865/07/18 Colonel, 2nd R.I. Infantry, signed by Gov. Smith
1866/04/05 Brevet Colonel, U.S. Volunteers, signed by Pres. Andrew Johnson (stamped) and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton
1869/05/04 Testimonial of Honor, signed by R.I. Gov. Ambrose E. Burnside
1872/01/23 Aide-de-Camp of the G.A.R., signed by Commander-in-Chief Burnside
1875/07/20 Collector of Internal Revenue for R.I., signed by Pres. U.S. Grant and Secretary of Treasury Benjamin H. Bristow
1875/12/17 Collector of Internal Revenue for R.I., signed by Pres. U.S. Grant and Secretary of Treasury Benjamin H. Bristow
1876/09/01 Commanding officer of the Department of Rhode Island for "The Army of Boys in Blue," signed by Commander-in-Chief James A. Garfield
1879/06/25 Brigadier-General, Rhode Island Militia, signed by Gov. Van Zandt
1879/08/01 Collector of Internal Revenue for Providence District
1891/06/01 Brigadier-General, Rhode Island Militia, signed by Gov. Ladd
1891 Certificate of contribution to Brown University's G.A.R. scholarship fund
1905/02/22 Aide-de-Camp of the G.A.R.
Box 1, folder 24. Correspondence re Gen. Frank Wheaton, 1889-1910
Box 1, folder 25. Correspondence, miscellaneous, 1861, 1863, 1891, 1895:
1861/07/28 Rhodes to sister (published in All for the Union)
[1861/07?] Annie M. Miller (young daughter of Frederick) to Rhodes
1863/01/19 J[ohn] D. Beugless to Rhodes, asking for appointment as Chaplain
1863/12/15 Lt. Col. M.T. McMahon to Col. C.H. Tompkins, transferring men (copy)
1891/06/02 William E. Clarke to Rhodes, appointing him Chief Marshall of parade
1895/01/07 W[?]low C. Wall[?] of Jamestown, RI to Rhodes glad that Rhodes had received a photograph of the "Alabama" taken from a painting.
Box 1, folder 26. Diary fragments, etc., 1863 and 1864:
Diary pages, April 28 - May 2 1863 (very brief, not published in All for the Union)
Letter / diary pages, covering May 4 - May 18  (published in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 27. Diary / memoir, covering events 1864-1865 (not in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 28. Diary transcription, 1861 (published in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 29. Diary transcription, 1862 (published in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 30. Diary transcription, 1863 (published in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 31. Diary transcription, 1864 (published in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 32. Diary transcription, 1865 (published in All for the Union)
Box 1, folder 33. Envelopes, Civil War era
Box 4, folder 7. Morning report of Gen. Keyes' Division, December 23-26 1861. This report was compiled by then-corporal Rhodes while detailed as a divisional clerk. It was sent to him as a memento by Gen. Darius Couch in 1888; Couch's letter is still attached.
Box 1, folder 34. Muster rolls and discharge papers, personal, 1862-1865
Box 1, folder 35. Obituaries, etc., 1917; wife's obituary, 1930
Box 1, folder 36. Rhode Island Historical Society membership certificate, 1896
Box 2, folder 1. Rhode Island Militia order book, 1879-1892
Box 2, folder 2. Scrapbooks, mostly of newspaper clippings, 1859-1875, and 1875-1878
Box 3, volume 2. Scrapbook, mostly of invitations and correspondence, 1875-1884
Box 3, volume 3. Scrapbook, mostly of invitations and correspondence, 1885-1894
Box 1, folder 37. Sullivan Ballou letter, 7/14/1861 (transcription)
Printed military orders
Box 1, folder 38. Army of the Potomac, 1864-1865
Box 1, folder 39. Military Governor of Virginia, 1864-1865
Box 1, folder 40. War Department general orders, 12/1863-12/1864
Box 1, folder 41. War Department general orders and circulars, 1865 (loose)
Box 1, folder 42. War Department general orders and circulars, 1865 (bound)
Box 1, folder 43. War Department Veteran Reserve Corps transfer orders, 1864-1865
Box 1, folder 44. Miscellaneous bound general orders
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Ballou, Sullivan, 1829-1861
Beugless, John D.
Couch, Darius N., 1822-1897
Diaries - 1861-1865
Garfield, James A., 1831-1881
Johnson, Andrew, 1808-1875
Keyes, Erasmus D., 1810-1895
Rhode Island - Militia
Second Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry
United States - History - Civil War, 1861-1865
Wheaton, Frank, 1833-1903
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