3. Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth in Greenwich Village


This flagstaff and plaque erected in 1936 located in Christopher Park adjoining Sheridan Square, Christopher, Grove and West 4th Street in Greenwich Village, is dedicated to the first Union officer killed in the Civil War. Colonel Ellsworth, born in 1837 in Malta, north of Troy, grew up in nearby Mechanicville and Troy but moved to Illinois. He drilled his 42 men of the Chicago Zouaes on the morning of July 12, 1860 back in Troy.

Image via Wikimedia CommonsLibrary of Congress

He became a close friend of President Abraham Lincoln after working for him during the presidential campaign and while studying law. When the war began, he moved to New York City and organized the 1st New York Infantry that became the 11th New York infantry composed of city firemen.

On May 23 1861, Ellsworth and his men were rushing to the rooftop of the Marshall House in Alexandria, Virginia to take down a rebel flag. On the way day, they ran into the owner of the hotel James W. Jackson who killed Ellsworth with a shotgun blast (It was Troy’s Corporal Francis E. Brownell who quickly killed Jackson).

After a burial reception in Washington and New York City, he was brought back to Mechanicville for burial after a large street procession first in Troy. Ironically he was the first victim of the war, with Abraham Lincoln perhaps the last. His death became a rallying cry, “Remember Ellsworth.”