Diary, May 24, 1861

"Death of Col. Ellsworth"
Currier & Ives
Original print from the Library's Collection
Marshall House Incident

"Alexandria, May 24, 1861

    The first instalment [sic] of federal troops, consisting of a regiment of fire Zouaves from New York under command of Colonel Ellsworth, and a Michigan regiment of infantry commanded by Col. Wilcox, together with an Artillery & Cavalry Company of U S regulars, made their advent into our city as the advance guard of the northern army intended to subjugate the people of the South to the control of one Abraham Lincoln, the first sectional President ever elected by the people of the American Union.   The Virginia forces under Col. Terrell having evacuated the place, the invaders of course met with no resistance; but the frown of the citizens gave unerring indication of their feelings, in view of this infringement upon their rights, and when it was announced that Ellsworth (the Colonel's first name) had been killed whilst endeavoring to carry off a Confederate flag from the "Marshall House", - which he had entered whilst the proprietor was asleep - a general expression of joy was manifested by our most quiet citizens at this result.   The history of this flag will long be remembered by our people, especially in view of the tragic event with which it is now associated.   The proprietor of the Marshall House, Jas. W. Jackson, heartily sympathizing with the South in the unnatural contest to which she had been forced by the unscrupulous partizans of the North, had procured a Confederate States flag and had placed it upon his building, avowing that whoever should attempt to remove it, would have to pass over his dead body,
"Marshall House"
Original photograph from the Library's Collection
Marshall House
and the sequel shows the melancholy fulfillment of this pledge as he fell mortally wounded in its defense, but not til he had accomplished the death of him who dared thus to invade the sanctity of his home.   This is a sad day for Alexandria and whatever may be the issue of this contest, this unprecedented move upon the part of a Republican President will ever linger in the minds of citizens while memory lasts; for independent of the regrets experienced at the death of the brave and patriotic Jackson, the usurpations of power indicated by this movement causes the hearts of freemen to shrink with dread from the contemplation of the future history of our beloved country."

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