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.
Peoria Ills. 27th May 1861
Mr E. Ellsworth
Dr Sr. At a meeting of the Peoria Zouave Cadets, held at their Armory on the Evening of the 25th inst. the following resolutions were passed unanimously.
Whereas, We have learned with deep regret of the death of Colonel Ephraim E. Ellsworth, Commander of the New York Fire Zouaves, and
Whereas, We feel in this bereavement that the country by a treacherous hand has been robbed of one of her noblest sons and bravest soldiers, and the head of the most complete, beautiful and useful school of military tactics known to the civilized world; therefore
Resolved. That as men and soldiers we unite with one common country in mourning this sad bereavement, and pledge our lives and reputations to avenge the cowardice by which a brave and gallant soldier was taken from the head of the Zouaves in the United States, while tearing down the flag of the Traitor in his native land.
Resolved. That in token of respect to our gallant brother, we will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty days.
Resolved. That we deem it but justice to the memory of Col. Ellsworth, that the Executives of the State and Nation accept all Companies of Zouaves who have, or may hereafter tender their service to the country for the war. That they may have an opportunity to evince by their bravery, their undying love for the deceased head of this peculiar school of Military Tactics.
Resolved. That these resolutions be engrossed on the records of this company and published in the Daily and Weekly papers of the city, and that a copy be sent to the family of the deceased.
J. H. Stesson
S. R. Baker
G. B. Swarthout
In accordance with the above resolutions, it becomes my duty to forward them to you.
Trusting that the irreparable loss you and our country has sustained may be sanctified to our good.
Citation:Peoria Zouave Cadets, Resolutions passed May 25, 1861. Peoria, Ill.; 27 May 1861. AMs 811/2.6