Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, 1861
40€ (33.06€ ex.VAT)
Sculpture: Eduard Pérez
Painting: Fernando Ruiz
Original concept art: Keith Rocco
Number of parts of the kit: 6
Scale: 75 mm
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Col. Ellsworth’s life was short but very intense after all. He was born in Malta, Saratoga County, in 1837. In his youth he heard the stories of his grandfather, George Ellsworth, who at fifteen fought in the War of Revolution in the Battle of Saratoga and saw himself the surrender of the British Army. Young Elmer, wasn’t a specially remarkable student, but show aptitudes towards leadership in games and sports, and was a good reader, showing a special interest for military studies and sketching, activity who kept up throughout his life.
At fifteen, when his family moved to Mechanicsville, he had the chance to organize a military company, the Black Plumed Riflemen, in Stillwater, a nearby village. He even managed to parade with his riflemen through Mechanicsville.
He could never assist to West Point, even if it was a cherished dream of him. He took different employments as a living and, at eighteen, he went with his brother to Chicago. There, he began to attend to a gymnasium where he met Dr. Charles A. DeVilliers. He was a veteran who served as a surgeon in a French Zouave regiment during the Crimean War and instructed Ellsworth in the Zouave drill system. With this knowledge and guided by books of tactics of the US Army, Ellsworth designed a new system of drill. In September, 1858 he had the chance of drilling the Rock-ford City Grays with a good success, and a month after, in Madison, Wisconsin he was appointed as commander of the Governor’s Guard, to drill their twenty five men.
Back to Chicago, in 1859, he was elected to reorganize the old National Guard Cadets, onward named United States Zouaves. Their rules were more rigid and severe than the ones of other military companies. Two months after, on the fourth of July public drill, he received the “admiration of hostile critics”.
The Zouave Cadets went on a tour for twenty-four cities and won the admiration of everybody wherever they went, and becoming celebrities in the country, Ellsworth’s portrait was reproduced and bought by thousands of persons. Girls loved him and men wished to be like him. Abraham Lincoln, who already was the President-Elect of the United States invited Ellsworth to accompany him to Washington. When the war started, he departed to New York and mustered the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry, mainly composed by the firemen of that city. They were known as “Ellsworth’s First Fire Zouaves”.
On the morning of the 24 of May, the day after Virgina Seceded of the Union, Ellsworth’s regiment was in Alexandria, as they had orders to occupy the Telegraph office. Observing a defiant confederate flag flying at the top of the Marshall House Inn, he decided to go there to remove it. When Ellsworth was coming down the stairs, carrying the confederate flag himself, he was shot at the chest by the innkeeper of the hotel, being the first casualty of the war. He was proclaimed a martyr of the Northern cause. His death inspired the creation of such regiments as the 44th New York Volunteer Infantry, “Ellsworth Avengers”, or the 73th New York Volunteer Infantry. Ellsworth’s contribution to the American Army was very important. He was responsible of the creation of zouave regiments, and the “zouave craze” helped recruit a lot of men into its ranks in both sides, north and south. More than fifty Zouave regiments served in just the Federal Army.
The last reunion of the Chicago Zouaves took place at the Wellington Hotel, Chicago, in November, 1910. Eight members were present.
Our miniature depicts Ellsworth in the Zouave uniform he was wearing the day he was killed and it is based on a painting by our friend Keith Rocco.