DESCRIPTION: "It was in 1861 on the twenty-fourth of May... It was there that Colonel Ellsworth came to his untimely grave. He raises a New York Regiment and leads them to Alexandria. He tears down a flag and is shot by the owner, Jackson; the soldiers kill Jackson
EARLIEST DATE: 1939 (ThompsonNewYork)
KEYWORDS: death soldier punishment homicide
1861 - Death of E. Elmer Ellsworth
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ThompsonNewYork, pp. 354-355, "Colonel Ellsworth" (1 text)
cf. "Ellsworth's Avengers" (subject of Elmer Ellsworth)
cf. "The Soldier's Funeral" (subject of Elmer Ellsworth)
NOTES [107 words]: This song is frankly too accurate to be traditional; clearly it is a poem written based on newspaper accounts after the event, and preserved in a broadside or something.
Elmer Elsworth was not the first Union soldier to die in the Civil War, but he was the first to get much newspaper attention. Invading the property of a Confederate sympathizer, he tore down a Confederate emblem -- probably an illegal act. The property owner killed Ellsworth -- and was promptly killed by one of Ellsworth's men. I'd say the "uncivilized" honors were pretty well balanced in this case.
For more about Ellsworth, see the notes to "The Soldier's Funeral." - RBW
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