The Back Rhodes of Our Genealogy

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From the book entitled: Memorial, Virginia Military Institute: Biographical Sketches of the Graduates and Eleves of the Virginia Military Institute Who Fell During the War Between the States
Author: Charles d: Walker
Publisher: READ BOOKS, 2008
ISBN: 140868733X, 9781408687338

  Edward A. Rhodes, of California; lieutenant, 11th North Carolina  infantry.Edward Averett Rhodes was born at Galveston, Texas, on the 15th of June, 1841. His father, the late Colonel E. A. Rhodes, of North Carolina, was United States Consul at that port. From 1852 until 1858, Edward's home was with his parents in California. During his boyhood he evinced peculiarly noble traits of character; of an exceedingly gentle and affectionate disposition, he was brave, truthful, and earnest alike in his love for everything pure and good, and in hatred and scorn towards all that is mean or bad. As a child he evinced remarkable reverence; saw God in everything; his mother says, " I have seen him kneel and kiss an opening bud, uncover and examine a grain of sprouting wheat, and cover it again with glistening eyes ami reverential care; yet he had no morbid or mawkish sensibilities, his moral nature was singularly healthy." At twelve years old he was a fearless rider and an excellent shot His favorite study was mathematics; his favorite author, Plutarch.
  After some preparatory study, from 1855 to 1860, he entered the Virginia Military Institute, in July of the last mentioned year. His cadet-life was short, extending only until the middle of the following April. This time, however, he improved. His mother says, " In his letters to me while there, he wrote much in praise of the course of study, in fact, of everything connected with the Institute, and showed an earnest desire to profit by his educational advantages to the utmost He also wrote much about the disturbed state of our country, evincing a remarkably correct view of the political situation. While aware that though of Northern birth (I was born and reared in New Hampshire), my sympathies and convictions of right were wholly on the side of the South, he knew also that in the event of civil war my relatives would be opposed to those of his father in the struggle, and this knowledge caused him great unhappiness."   
  When the State of Virginia seceded, in April, 1861,and the governor ordered the corps of cadets to Richmond, Cadet Rhodes went with them, and acted as drill-master at the camp of instruction there for some months. Was thence transferred to Raleigh, North Carolina, and finally to Roanoke Island, in the same capacity.  On the 22d of January, 1862, he was commissioned second lieutenant in the nth North Carolina Infantry. He was in the battle of White Hall, December 16, 1862, and in fact, in all active service participated in by his regiment from the time he became a member of it until the battle of Gettysburg. During a greater portion of this time he acted as adjutant of the regiment, and was greatly beloved by his colonel, Leventhorpc. In the great battle of July 1, 1863, he fell. In a charge of his regiment, on the afternoon of that day, the color-bearer was wounded in the ankle; as he fell, Lieutenant Rhodes seized the colors, and was in the act of advancing, cheering the men, when he was struck in the head by a Minie-ball, and fell, murmuring, "Oh, God !" into the arms of his captain. His two young friends. Cooper and Lowrie, fell nearly at the same moment, and were buried that night by the officers on the spot where they fell, near the " Seminary." Colonel Leventhorpe, in a letter to Mrs. Rhodes, written soon after her son's death, speaking of this day's battle, says," I saw Eddie for a moment, just as we were a hearing the enemy, when he remarked to me, with a smile, "We are marching in excellent line." Even in the moment of peril of life, the brave young officer could not repress this feeling of soldierly pride in the troops he had so patiently and faithfully drilled. 
  The surgeon of the 11th, a prisoner at Norfolk, also wrote to Mrs. Rhodes, telling her of her son's death. Going at once to Gettysburg, she identified the graves of the three friends, Rhodes, Cooper, and Lowrie, their names being written on a barrel-stave at the head of the grave, and in the following spring had their remains removed to " Greenmount," Baltimore.
   California was the chosen home of young Rhodes. Me owned no interest in the South ; not a foot of land, not a slave. Thoroughly acquainted with the history of our country, he entered the Southern army, and gave his whole soul to the cause he believed to be just. To complete this sketch we give a brief outline of his character, taken from an obituary published in a North Carolina paper in 1863:" Traits such as his are sure to win friends, and he soon became a favorite, not only with his commander, but with the regiment. Possessed of intellect of a high order, with a keen appreciation of the necessities of the times, and an ambition to excel in whatever he engaged, by diligent application he rapidly acquired such a knowledge of military affairs as fully qualified him for the rugged life of a soldier, and distinguished him at once as among the most efficient officers of his brigade. He was noble by nature. Talented and brave, his heart never quailed, nor did his hand waver in executing what his judgment approved. Unobtrusive in his manners, generous apd affectionate, his modest merit sought not the glare of the world, but shone beautifully forth among his many friends and in the quiet communion of the home circle. As a son, he was an example well worthy of imitation, for none could surpass him in affectionate devotion to his widowed mother. As a friend and companion, he was genial in disposition, devoted and truthful.   As a soldier, he was brave and enthusiastic, and thought no sacrifice too great for the success of that cause to which he had given his life. He fell, alas, in a strange land! and sleeps in an unknown grave! but he has a tomb in the hearts of his loving friends at home, and a monument in the memory of his country.

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