New York State Military Museum Presents Video on Historic Captured Confederate Flag
January 25, 2012
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY --The New York State Military Museum offers a glimpse into the early stages of the Civil War and famed Union hero, Colonel Elmer Ellsworth with new video highlighting conservation of the Marshall House Flag.
The Marshall House was a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia owned by James W. Jackson, who allowed a large Confederate Flag to be displayed. The flag noticeable to President Abraham Lincoln from the White House marked a significant turn of events when Malta native and friend of the President, Colonel Ellsworth offered to retrieve the flag.
On May 24, 1861, Colonel Ellsworth and a small group of men proceeded across the Potomac River to remove the flag. Ellsworth accompanied by four men went up stairs and cut down the flag flying high over the house. As they were going down the stairs, James Jackson shot and killed Ellsworth with a chest wound, instantly making him the first casualty of the Civil War.
Jackson himself was immediately killed by Corporal Francis Brownell of Troy, New York, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery. President Lincoln was deeply saddened to hear the news of his friend's passing, immediately ordered an honor guard to escort Colonel Ellsworth to the White House where he would lay in state.
The video, available at You Tube, the New York National Guard You Tube Channel and the New York State Military Museum website, outlines the history of Ellsworth and the incident, and shows how the flag is being conserved.
"We are still discussing the Marshall House Flag and Colonel Ellsworth today because this flag cost the life of a friend of to the President, created a martyr for the Union and hero to the South," said Michael Aikey, the manager of the New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center.
The video is just one part of a push by the museum and the State Capital to showcase New York's flag archives, Aikey said.
Currently the remaining portion of the flag is on display at the New York State capital dealing with the Civil War's first year 1861. The flag, like many items related or associated with Colonel Ellsworth, became prized souvenirs. It was previously displayed in 1960 for the Civil War centennial
New York has the largest collection of Civil War battle flags in the country.
The video will be part of the museum's ongoing mission to preserve, interpret and disseminate the story, history and records of New York State's military forces and veterans, Aikey said.
The video was produced by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation which conserved the historic flag at it's Peebles Island Resource Center in Cohoes, NY. Funding for the conservation effort was provided by the Coby Foundation through the Natural Heritage Trust.
The New York State Military Museum is administered by the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs which is the state agency overseeing the New York Army and Air National Guard. The museum's collection dates back to 1863 when a New York National Guard officer was tasked by the governor to collect information and items relating to New York's involvement in the Civil War.