Rhode Island in the American Civil War

Rhode Island in the American Civil War

The state of Rhode Island during the American Civil War, as with all of New England, remained loyal to the Union. Rhode Island furnished 25,236 fighting men to the Union Army, of which 1,685 died. ["Dyer's Compendium"] On the home front, Rhode Island, along with the other northern states, used its industrial capacity to supply the Union Army with the materials it needed to win the war. Rhode Island's continued growth and modernization led to the creation of an urban mass transit system, and improved health and sanitation programs.

Rhode Island during the war

. In September, the Academy moved to the Atlantic House hotel in Newport and remained there for the rest of the war. [http://www.fortadams.org/ Fort Adams official website] ]

In 1862 Fort Adams became the headquarters and recruit depot for the 15th U.S. Infantry Regiment. This regiment, along with several others, had a organization in which the regiment had three eight company battalions. The 3rd Battalion of the 15th Infantry was organized at the fort in March 1864.

The USS "Rhode Island" was a side-wheel steamer commissioned in 1861 for the Union Navy. It served to intercept blockade runners in the West Indies and was later a part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. [DANFS]

Notable leaders from Rhode Island



Rhode Island's early war governor, William Sprague, accompanied a detachment of state troops in the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861. He declined a commission as a brigadier general and remained in office. In 1862, he attended the Loyal War Governors' Conference in Altoona, Pennsylvania, which ultimately backed Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Union war effort. After failing to be re-elected as governor, he was elected as a U.S. Senator to replace Arnold, taking office in 1863 and serving into Reconstruction. During the war, Sprague married Kate Chase, daughter of Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. [CongBio|S000747|name=SPRAGUE, William|inline=1]

In March 1863, Sprague was replaced as governor by prominent businessman William C. Cozzens, but he did not fulfill his term, leaving office that May. James Y. Smith then led Rhode Island during the last two years of the war. [Sobel, Robert and John Raimo. "Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978". Greenwood Press, 1988. ISBN 0-313-28093-2.]

Union Army

. [Eicher, pp. 155-56.]

Maj. Gen. Silas Casey of East Greenwich led a division in the Army of the Potomac during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign that suffered heavy losses at Battle of Seven Pines facing George Pickett’s brigade. He wrote the three-volume "System of Infantry Tactics", including "Infantry Tactics" volumes I and II, published in August 1862 and "Infantry Tactics for Colored Troops", published in March 1863. The manuals were used by both sides during the Civil War. [Appletons] [ [http://www.usregulars.com/caseybio.html Casey Biography from US Regulars Archive] ]

Isaac P. Rodman commanded the 3rd Division of the IX Corps during the Maryland Campaign. He led the efforts to take Turner's Gap during the Battle of South Mountain in September 1862. A few days later, he was mortally wounded at the Antietam defending against a counterattack by Confederates under A.P. Hill. [Warner, p. ]

Brig. Gen. Richard Arnold, the son of Rhode Island governor and United States congressman Lemuel Arnold, was the Chief of Artillery for the Department of the Gulf. His guns helped force the surrender of two important Confederate towns—Mobile, Alabama, and Port Hudson, Louisiana. [ [http://members.aol.com/batrinque/generals.html Rhode Island Civil War Round Table bio of Arnold] ]

Zenas Bliss of Johnston led an infantry brigade in the IX Corps during the Siege of Petersburg. After the war, he was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for gallantry at Fredericksburg. [cite book | last = Bliss | first = Zenas Randall | coauthors = edited by Thomas T. Smith, et. al | title = The Reminiscences of Major General Zenas R. Bliss, 1854-1876: from the Texas frontier to the Civil War and back again | publisher = Texas State Historical Association | year = 2007 | isbn = 9780876112267] Another officer who made a significant contribution was George S. Greene of Apponaug, who spearheaded the defense of the Union right flank at Culp's Hill during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. At the very end of the war, Greene was in command of the 3rd Brigade in Absalom Baird's 3rd Division, XIV Corps, and participated in the capture of Raleigh and the pursuit of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army until its surrender. [Motts, pp. 63-75.]

Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Sherman of Newport commanded the defenses of New Orleans before taking command of a division in Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks's army, which he led into action at the Siege of Port Hudson, where he was severely wounded, leading to the amputation of his leg and consignment to desk duty for the rest of the war. [Eicher] Frank Wheaton of Providence led first a brigade and then a division in the Army of the Potomac, seeing action in a number of major actions, including the Overland Campaign and the Siege of Petersburg. His men were hurried by train to Washington, D.C., in time to help repel Jubal Early's raid on the capital in the summer of 1864. [Eicher, Warner]

Union Navy

. [NHC}]

ee also

*List of Rhode Island Civil War units
*History of Rhode Island


* Dyer, Frederick H., "A Compendium of the War of Rebellion: Compiled and Arranged From Official Records of the Federal and Confederate Armies, Reports of the Adjutant Generals of the Several States, The Army Registers and Other Reliable Documents and Sources", Des Moines, Iowa: Dyer Publishing, 1908 (reprinted by Morningside Books, 1978), ISBN 978-0890290460.
* Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., "Civil War High Commands", Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
* Motts, Wayne E., "To Gain a Second Star: The Forgotten George S. Greene", "Gettysburg Magazine", July 1990, pp. 63-75.
* Warner, Ezra J., "Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders", Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.


External links

* [http://hometown.aol.com/batrinque/RICWRT.html Rhode Island Civil War Round Table]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.