Ellsworth, Elmer Ephraim, 1837–61, American Civil War hero, b. near Mechanicville, N.Y. Just before the Civil War he became famous for his Zouave company, which toured the North giving exhibition drills. A friend and law student of Lincoln, Ellsworth accompanied him to Washington in 1861. When war began, he recruited a regiment from the volunteer firemen in New York City. At Alexandria, Va., in May, 1861, he removed a Confederate flag from atop the Marshall House and was shot and killed by the proprietor. His sensational death was the first officer casualty on the Virginia front.
See biography by R. P. Randall (1960).
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