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Lot 51    

Relic of Col. Elmer Ellsworth's Flag, Plus CDVs of Ellsworth and Brownell
6/12/2015 - American History: Live Salesroom Auction
Lot of 3, including a relic of Ellsworth's flag sewed onto a 3.75 x 4 in. piece of paper with ink identification A Piece of the Flag Col. Ellsworth raised on the Marshall House, 1861; a CDV of Ellsworth published by J. Gurney & Son, 1863, with an explanation on verso as to the head of the goddess of liberty mysteriously appearing in the print after retouching (though we do not see it); and a fine CDV of Francis E. Brownell, Ellsworth's avenger, published by E. Anthony in 1861 from a Brady negative.

The inscription above the relic is erroneous, of course, as Ellsworth did not raise a flag but rather removed the large "secession flag" flying atop the Marshall House Inn in Alexandria, VA.  Col. Ellsworth was especially offended as the flag was visible to Abraham Lincoln in the White House, and when he entered Alexandria with the 11th New York on May 24, 1861, he was determined to take it down.  While descending the stairs with the flag, he was confronted by the innkeeper, an ardent secessionist named James W. Jackson, who fired a shotgun blast into Ellsworth's chest at point blank, but Francis E. Brownell, a corporal in Ellsworth's "Fire Zouaves," responded immediately with a fatal bayonet strike to Jackson.  Col. Ellsworth was the first conspicuous Union casualty of the war and the incident became a rallying point for soldiers and citizens throughout the North.  Pieces of the flag, Ellsworth's uniform, the Marshall House sign, and even the bloodstained floorboards immediately became popular patriotic souvenirs, and over 30 years later the event was still memorable enough that Brownell's wife was able to sell small pieces of the flag to raise money following her husband's death.  Brownell was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1877, and the remaining section of the flag eventually ended up in the New York State Military Museum, and relics such as the one offered here reside in the Smithsonian and other notable collections.


Condition:  
CDVs both VG+
Sold: $0.00
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