Colonel Elmer Ellsworth was the first Union officer to die in the American Civil War. No new biography of his life has been published since 1960--so I am writing one.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Camp near White Oak Church, Va.
May 9, 1863
It is difficult to realize in the time of an action, the extreme peril one’s life is in. Death there seems of less consequence than anywhere else, one gets so used to it. Let a railroad accident happen, or a factory tumble to the ground, mangling a great many, and terrifying numbers more, and the whole country shudders, but the same number may be killed and maimed in a brisk skirmish, and the affair is very ‘brilliant.’ Such is the acknowledged difference, and it well that it should be so. But when the excitement is over and we go back to camp and see so many comrades whose society was our pleasure, missing, we feel very keenly the loss we have sustained.
—from a letter by Pvt. Wilbur Fisk, 2nd VT Infantry, to The (Montpelier, VT) Green Mountain Freeman following the Battle of Second Fredericksburg