Isaac Peace Rodman

Isaac Peace Rodman was born August 18, 1822, in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. After receiving a basic education in the local schools, he became an outstanding citizen of the area: he engaged in business with his father, became a prominent merchant, and served on the town council and in both branches of the Rhode Island legislature. In 1861 he was serving as a member of the state senate, but as a Quaker he was torn between the precepts of religion and loyalty. Unhesitatingly, however, he accepted a captaincy in the 2nd Rhode Island on June 6, 1861, a three-year regiment which in conjunction with the rest of Ambrose E. Burnside's brigade lost its colonel and 362 members at First Bull Run. Rodman resigned October 25, 1861, in order to accept the colonelcy of the 4th Rhode Island on October 30. The following winter he accompanied Burnside's expedition to the Carolinas and took a gallant part in the reduction of Roanoke Island, the battle of New Bern, and the capture of Fort Macon, which guarded the harbor of Beaufort, North Carolina. On April 30, 1862, Rodman, upon the recommendation of Burnside, was made a brigadier general of volunteers to rank from April 28. Meantime he had contracted what was supposed to be typhoid fever and was sent home to Rhode Island to recuperate. Immediately before the critical battle of Sharpsburg, Rodman joined the Army of the Potomac and was assigned to command a division of the IX Corps under the ill-fated Jesse L. Reno, while Burnside was directing the left of the Army of the Potomac. George B. McClellan's strategy to overpower R. E. Lee was strongly dependent upon the ability of Burnside's corps to cross Antietam Creek and come in on the Confederate right. After a number of futile and ill-directed assaults in the vicinity of "Burnside's Bridge," Rodman got his men over an upper ford just in time to be assailed by Powell Hill's men arriving from the capitulation at Harpers Ferry. Rodman's men responded magnificently, but their left, the untried 16th Connecticut, caved in just as General Rodman was bringing up the 4th Rhode Island in support. At this moment he was struck down by a ball in the chest. Taken to a battlefield hospital, he survived until September 30, 1862; he was buried in a family cemetery at Peace Dale, Rhode Island.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.