Elmer E. Ellsworth studied law in Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois, office and aided Lincoln’s campaign for the presidency in 1860. When the war began, Ellsworth organized the “Fire Zouaves” (11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment) and wrote this manual of arms.
Ellsworth’s regiment was part of the US Army’s occupation of northern Virginia, which began before dawn on May 24, 1861. That day, Ellsworth was gunned down as he attempted to remove a Confederate flag flying atop an Alexandria hotel. The first Union officer to die in the Civil War, Ellsworth lay in state in the White House and was commemorated widely, including on the printed envelopes shown here.