Friday, June 19, 2015

The Commemoration of Elisha Hunt Rhodes

On July 19 of 2014, a graveside memorial service in Swan Point Cemetery celebrated the life and legacy of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, the Civil War private who rose to become colonel of the 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment and, later, the Adjutant General of the State of Rhode Island. On Sunday, July 5, 2015, The Commemoration of Elisha Hunt Rhodes premieres on Rhode Island PBS at 6 p.m. as part of Rhode Island Stories.

Endorsed by the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission, the ceremony featured a military salute and a period honor guard, as well as state and local government representation, the Rhode Island National Guard, Boy Scouts, and various historical organizations and reenactment groups.

Great grandson Robert Rhodes, an author and historian, delivers the keynote address tracing the Rhodes family genealogy - including naming Elisha's great-great-great-great grandchildren.

The ceremony was funded and sponsored by Brian E. Guiot of West Warwick, RI, with the support of local organizations including The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), and The Rhode Island Civil War Round Table.

"Colonel Elisha Hunt Rhodes was a true officer and a gentleman," said Guiot of the inspirational officer. "I thank everyone for their efforts and I shall never forget this fine tribute to my American hero. Rhodes represents everything that was great about the private soldier from Rhode Island in the Civil War, and our State's dedication to the Union cause."

Rhodes, a resident of Pawtuxet at the start of the war, fought in nearly every major conflict in the eastern theater: from the outbreak of the land war at Bull Run to the final surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse. Throughout the war, his commitment to the cause and singular bravery was rewarded by his battlefield promotions until he came to command his entire regiment as colonel. Rhode Island's finest representative of this state's commitment and sacrifice during the Civil War, Elisha Hunt Rhodes was born in 1842 and died 1917.

After the July 5 premiere, The Commemoration of Elisha Hunt Rhodes will air on WSBE Learn on Tuesday, July 7 at 8 p.m. and encore on WSBE Rhode Island PBS on Saturday, July 11 at 11 p.m.