Chappel is best known for his images of the Revolutionary War. He painted this scene based on the descriptions of Ned House, a reporter for the New York Tribune, who was there. In fact, that's House, behind Ellsworth.
The way the painting is designed is very interesting, with the two rifles crossing in the center of the painting. The only two faces copied from life are Colonel Ellsworth's and Francis Brownell's. The others are in shadow or--Jackson--turned away from the viewer.
The light is carefully controlled, guiding your eye into and through the painting, letting the story emerge.
OMG!!! I'm here in Alexandria, saw the Ellsworth exhibit, cried like a baby--and now I'm an art critic!
I sit amazed.