May 27, 1861: Letter from C. C. Price to Ephraim Ellsworth

Col. Elmer Ellsworth was a lawyer and soldier and friend of Abraham Lincoln who would become one of the first casualties of the Civil War. As a colonel of the Chicago National Guard Cadets before the war, Ellsworth introduced French-inspired Zouave uniforms and drills to the unit. He worked in Lincoln’s law office in August 1860 and assisted him during the fall campaign. After Lincoln’s election he helped organize troops, including the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was composed of fire fighters. He was shot and killed on May 24, 1861 while removing a large Confederate flag from a tavern in Alexandria, Virginia.

AMs 811-2-6 CC Price ALS to Ellsworths father


Hollidaysburg Blair Co. Pa. May 27/1861

To Colonell Ellsworths Father

My brother tis by this hallowed name. I address and solace offer you. It is not the prompting of the outward, my soul has been baptised and may I say almost overwhelmed in grief. my heart was maimed.. that he young noble and generous, beloved by all, should go down so soon, and in this way. to the nation the Cost is great, but the roots of the tree of liberty no common blood could take, it must be one on whome the affections of the nation was placed, that this sacrifice might bring us to a condition in which we the more plainly could see and feel the magnitude and importance of the work before us. and from that hour we looked with fresh hope with renewed encouragement and for better fruit. since the roots with greed have drank again of the precious blood of an American Marter, Ah the strong flow of soul, the unity of purpose. the determination to be avenged needs no more of provocation to lead us as one soul to the fount of liberty to baptise anew our souls in the living watters of American patriotism, notwithstanding when I contemplate the sad event the blood seems to tingle in my veins and the tear oozes from the briney socket and I exclaim

Great Good and was it he

This sacrifice should make

That incense might to heaven arise

This nation to awake

Twas fitting that a noble soul

Should in this contest fall

If any must be given up

In freedoms earnest call

I conclude with you in this great loss, and refer you to the true course for consolation with the true sympathy of a friend I close very Respectfully C. C. Price


Citation:C. C. Price, autograph letter signed to Ephraim Ellsworth. Hollidaysburg, Pa; 27 May 1861. AMs 811/2.6

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