Steel Engraving of Colonel Ellsworth - He is posed with one had behind his back and the other rests on his hip upon his sword. He wears a dark double-breasted frock coat with Colonels shoulder straps, a New York Volunteers belt and his left hand rests upon a Model 1850 Foot Officer’s sword. A kepi is upon his head. The lower left of the engraving reads: "Buttre" and the lower right "Brady". Beneath "E. E. Ellsworth". Mounted on archival board, measures 14"h x 11"w.
Steel Engraving Of Elmer E. Ellsworth - Bust view steel engraving of Ellsworth, Colonel of the New York Zouaves at the center. Signed by the artist - Baker. Lithograph and published by J. H. Buford, 313 Washington St. Boston. Professionally mounted on archival board, measures 14"h x 10 7/8"w.
Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth:
Residence was not listed; a 25 year-old Lawyer.
Enlisted on 4/20/1861 at New York City, NY as a Colonel.
On 5/7/1861 he was commissioned into Field & Staff NY 11th Infantry
He was Killed on 5/24/1861 at Alexandria, VA
(Killed by Mr. Jackson, proprietor of the Marshall House hotel)
Born 4/23/1837 in Mechanicsville, NY
Buried: Mechanicsville, Saratoga County, NY
Born as Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth in Malta, New York, Ellsworth grew up in Mechanicville, New York, and lived in New York City. In 1854, he moved to Rockford, Illinois, where he worked for a patent agency. In 1859, he became engaged to Carrie Spafford, the daughter of a local industrialist and city leader. Carrie's father demanded that he find more suitable employment, so he moved to Chicago, to study law and work as a law clerk.
In 1860, Ellsworth went to Springfield, Illinois, to work with Abraham Lincoln. He studied law in Lincoln's office and helped Lincoln with his 1860 campaign for president. Ellsworth was only 5' 6" tall, but Lincoln called him "the greatest little man I ever met". He accompanied Lincoln to Washington, D.C. in 1861.
Ellsworth became drillmaster of the "Rockford Greys", the local militia company, in 1857. He studied military science in his spare time. After some success with the Greys, he helped train militia units in Milwaukee and Madison. When he moved to Chicago he became Colonel of Chicago's National Guard Cadets.
Ellsworth had studied the Zouave soldiers, French colonial troops in Algeria, and was impressed by their reported fighting quality. He outfitted his men in gaudy Zouave-style uniforms, and modeled their drill and training on the Zouaves. Ellsworth's unit became a nationally famous drill team.
The Civil War broke into open warfare in April, and on April 15, 1861, Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to put down the rebellion. Ellsworth helped recruit these soldiers: he raised the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment (the "Fire Zouaves") from New York City's volunteer firefighting companies, and returned to Washington as their Colonel.
Ellsworth died shortly after returning to Washington. He had, on previous occasions, joined the Lincolns in "peering curiously across the river at [a] large rebel banner that had mocked them for a month from the skyline of Alexandria. [...] For some anxious Unionists, that flag was becoming a symbol of the administration's slowness to move against the gathering forces of the Confederacy." On May 24, 1861 (the day after Virginia's secession was ratified by referendum), with an order that came a day prior, Ellsworth found himself and his troops victorious in the face of a retreating Confederate army in Alexandria. And on this day, Ellsworth would cut down the banner that he had seen countless times from the other side of the river. (This was not the later-designed, more famous "Battle flag", but rather the official "Stars and Bars" flag that more closely resembles the Union flag.)
On May 24, Ellsworth led the 11th New York across the Potomac and into the streets of Alexandria uncontested. He detached some men to take the railroad station while he led others to secure the telegraph office. On his way, there, Ellsworth turned a corner and came face to face with the Marshall House Inn, atop of which the banner was still flying. He ordered a company of infantry as reinforcements and continued on his way to the telegraph office. But suddenly, Ellsworth changed his mind, turned around, and went up the steps of the Marshall House.
He entered the house accompanied by seven men. Once inside, they found a "disheveled-looking man, only half dressed, who had apparently just gotten out of bed" and who informed them that he was a boarder, upon Ellsworth's demand to know what the Confederate flag was doing atop the hotel. Ellsworth and four men then went upstairs to cut down the flag. As Ellsworth came downstairs with the (very large) flag, the sleepy "boarder" who was actually the owner of the house and one of the most ardent of secessionists in Alexandria, James W. Jackson, killed Ellsworth with a shotgun blast to the chest. Corporal Francis E. Brownell, of Troy, New York, immediately shot Jackson or stabbed him with the bayonet on the end of his gun. Brownell was later awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions.
Lincoln was deeply saddened by his friend's death and ordered an honor guard to bring his friend's body to the White House, where he lay in state in the East Room. Ellsworth's body was then taken to the City Hall in New York City, where thousands of Union supporters came to see the first man to fall for the Union cause. Ellsworth was then buried in his hometown of Mechanicville, in the Hudson View Cemetery.
Thousands of Union supporters rallied around Ellsworth's cause and enlisted. "Remember Ellsworth" was a patriotic slogan: the 44th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment called itself the "Ellsworth Avengers", as well as "The People's Ellsworth Regiment."
Inventory Number: PRI 074