Friday, October 14, 2011

memento mori

This is a drum, with Ellsworth's picture painted on it. So many things were created to honor and memorialize EE after he was killed, and I will share some of them here.

I often go to eBay, looking for "stuff," and I often find great things of this nature. The best so far was a large mirror with Ellsworth's image sort of etched into the top part. It went for a lot of money, and I didn't even bid.

Another thing I found was an alleged "piece of the banister against which Ellsworth fell," after he was shot at the Marshall House. In Adam Goodheart's book, 1861, he mentions purchasing a similar item for $105.49. At least I think he bought it. The piece of wood I found went for over $300! Not to me, however. I went as far as the $105.49, but not higher.

It seems that EE relics have risen in worth, probably due to 1861 and the 150th anniversary of his death last May 24. There is an exhibit in Philadelphia about the American Flag. Rumor has it that Ellsworth is featured there as well.

We spend a great deal of time and energy reading and writing about battles and leaders, strategy and tactics, and Famous Men. Each of these has a piece in the entire puzzle, and some have more than one, but it is understanding the lesser-known players that help us to see the War more fully in its context.

I am old enough to remember when diaries and letters from "the common soldier" became the way to look at things--knocking aside the Battles & Leaders theorists for a moment. I am also old enough to realize that history is made by both the nameless soldier and the famous general.

Ellsworth did not live long enough to become a famous general, but he was never a nameless soldier.


  1. Should have paid the $300.oo for the banister. Robert

  2. LOL!! It was just a sliver of the banister, and who knows if it was even real?? Stuff like this is like those relics from the Holy Land--"a piece of the True Cross, madame?"