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 those campaigns, which remain outstanding for their clarity and detail. Most of all, Rhodes’s words reveal the motivation of a common Yankee foot soldier, an otherwise ordinary young man who endured the rigors of combat and exhausting marches, short rations, fear, and homesickness for a salary of $13 a month and the satisfaction of giving “all for the union.”
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