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The Seventh Rhode Island Infantry in the Civil War

by Robert Grandchamp, McFarland & Co.

Civil War fighting units derived much of their distinctive character from the states or counties from where their soldiers were recruited, but they also reflected the places where they fought, the larger formations to which they were attached and the generals under whom they served. Robert Grandchamp’s The Seventh Rhode Island Infantry in the Civil War is an interesting case in point, since that regiment was profoundly affected by its assignment to the Union IX Corps under Rhode Island’s most prominent general: the amiable but ill-starred Ambrose E. Burnside.

First blooded—and bloodied—at the Battle of Fredericksburg, when Burnside commanded the Army of the Potomac, the 7th Rhode Island subsequently accompanied the IX Corps to Mississippi for the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign, where it served in a largely auxiliary capacity and the region’s summer heat and disease inflicted a much greater toll on the men than combat. The 7th also served in Kentucky before rejoining the Army of the Potomac in April 1864 for the beginning of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign. When it mustered out on June 9, 1865, the unit had suffered a casualty total of approximately 80 percent.

Richly illustrated with maps and 109 photographs, this volume is yet another worthy addition to McFarland & Company’s ongoing series of Civil War unit histories.


Originally published in the August 2008 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.