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Willard F. Rhoads, Union Army KIA, Civil War

Willard F. Rhoads (1838-1863)

Willard Rhoads was born May 10, 1838, to Deacon Lewis S. Rhoads and his wife, Harriet Fisher Rhoads (1811-1888). Lewis Rhoads, born in Sharon, was a cabinet maker and a farmer.

Willard Rhoads joined Company B, 1st Michigan Cavalry Regiment in the Civil War on August 23, 1861 for three years’ service. This Regiment was part of the famed Michigan Brigade – referred to as the “Wolverines” – which was led for a time by George Armstrong Custer. It was organized in Detroit, Michigan in August-September 1861. Over its existence (mustered out in 1865), 2705 men were on its rolls. They were instrumental in many battles throughout the war including the Battle of Gettysburg.

Leading the charge at the head of the 1st Michigan Cavalry Regiment of his all-Michigan cavalry brigade, Brigadier General George A. Custer drew his sword and urged the Michiganders forward with the cry "Come on, you Wolverines!"

Rhoads was promoted to the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant on June 20, 1863. He was killed in action at Centerville, Virginia, November 6, 1863.

Willard F.Rhoads age 25 years 5 most. 23 days Centerville, VA shot from his horse in Army

His name appears on the family gravestone along with his mother and father. Nearby stands his official Civil War regimental marker.

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