The Avengers

Hell Really Exists

Hell Really Exists

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Following the untimely death of the gallant Ellsworth, at the hands of tavern-keeper James Jackson, the Ellsworth Association was formed, setting out to raise a regiment to honour the name of the gallant Fire Zouave commander.

'The grief of the people of New York at the villainous assassination of the noble Ellsworth is universal,' ran an editorial about raising the regiment in the Albany livening Journal. 'Let the people of New York, his native state, mingle with their tears practical poinis I'or avenging his death.1

The Ellsworth Association's idea was that recruits should represent every town and ward in the state, with each town and ward donating money to provide arms and equipment for the volunteers, Recruits came from far and wide, and revelled in the regiment's name, Ellsworth's Avengers. The 44th was also known as the People's Ellsworth Regiment, but this title didn't have quite the same ring.

Recruits did not simply sign up for the 44th; they were nominated by patriotic citizens and had to fulfil certain requirements. Each Avenger had to be aged under 30 and stand not less than live feet eight inches tall. The} had to he of sound moral character and preferably teetotal ideals that reflected the conditions Ellsworth had laid out for the United States Zouave Cadets, Men of the 44th New York averaged 22 years of age, and

44th New York

/ his determined-looking chafitttter is Private John Langdon Hard of the Salem Zouaves, who became Company / of the 8th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Pistols and knives stuck under hells was a macho display favoured by many volunteers early in the war when they had their photographs taken. John l.augdon H ard was obviously out to impress. (Michael J, McAfee)

/ his determined-looking chafitttter is Private John Langdon Hard of the Salem Zouaves, who became Company / of the 8th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Pistols and knives stuck under hells was a macho display favoured by many volunteers early in the war when they had their photographs taken. John l.augdon H ard was obviously out to impress. (Michael J, McAfee)

many were over five feet II) inches tall. The Avengers certainly lived up to the expectations of the Ellsworth Association, and saw hard combat throughout the war. Serving in Butterfield's Brigade, Porter's Division Army of the Potomac, the 44th formed a quick attachment to the 83rd Pennsylvania, another 'showcase regiment', and the two outfits became known as 'Butterfield's Twins',

Later transferred to Colonel Strong Vincent's Brigade, the 44th took part in all the major battles

Company 83rd Pennsylvania Volunteers

Eilum I. I* Brewster had served in the Salem Zouaves hefure he became captain bj Company I, the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and it seems that Company -I wanted to surpass the Salem Zouaves in splendour. H orn in this picture by an unidentified Zouave, Company A V uniform with its ornate lombcaitx low on the jacket front ami the tasselled sash, would make any Zouave proud. (Michael J. McAfee)

Eilum I. I* Brewster had served in the Salem Zouaves hefure he became captain bj Company I, the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, and it seems that Company -I wanted to surpass the Salem Zouaves in splendour. H orn in this picture by an unidentified Zouave, Company A V uniform with its ornate lombcaitx low on the jacket front ami the tasselled sash, would make any Zouave proud. (Michael J. McAfee)

of ilu' eastern theatre. At Malvern Hill the 44ih made a spirited bayonet charge, spectacularly recalled b\ Avenger Lieutenant-colonel James C, Rice in his report on the battle. 'Onward the forty fourth marched in regular line of battle, with its colors far advanced, passing line after line of our troops who loudly cheered our flag as we steadily and firmly pressed on, till at length beyond the extreme front of our forces and within 100 yards of the enerm the regiment was ordered to charge bayonets upon his line. Scarcely had the regiment charged 50 yards towards the enemy before his lines broke and fell back.'

It is claimed that the 44th lost 12 colour bearers between the time it started service and the Battle of Fredericksburg, in December 1S(>2. One ragged Hag, retired after Fredericksburg because it had seen so much service, was riddled with 84 bullet holes and badly torn by shells. The flag pole had twice been cut in two by musket-balls.

Ellsworth's Avengers saw their hardest fighting at Gettysburg, w hen they were one of the regiments of the 3rd Brigade, 5th Corps, rushed to Little Round Top to stop the Union left flank being rolled up by the Confederates:, Colonel Rice of the 44th requested that his regiment he placed next to its 'twin', the 83rd Pennsylvania. This was granted, and ihe 44th was placed on the right of the 83rd Pennsylvania and the left of the 16th Michigan, who had been moved from their original position next to the 83rd. On the far left was the 20th Maine.

An early casualty of the 44th was Captain Lucius S. Larabee, the commander of Company B and a former United States Zouaves Cadet, who was shot after advancing his company as skirmishers. Scrambling up Little Round Top came seething lines of rebels, hut w ith its oblique fire to the right, the 44th helped check the advance, and held their ground firmly until the charge of' the 20th Maine down Little Round Top crushed the Confederate attack. During the fight for Little Round Top, Strong Vincent, the 3rd Brigade's commander who had given permission for the 44th and 83rd to stand together, was killed and Colonel Rice of the 44ih took over command.

Little Round Top was a dearlv bought victory for the 44th and its brother regiments, the 20th Maine and the 83rd Pennsylvania. (The 16th Michigan had disgraced itself by breaking too easily.) The greatest Cost to the 44th was in Company who lost 21 of the 40 men they had taken into battle. Apart from Captain Larabee. many officers of the 44th were mortally wounded, including First lieutenant Eugene L. Dunham of Company D and Second lieutenant Benjamin V Thomas of Company k. But the enemy had also paid a hcaw price. After witnessing the carnage ol

British Second Lieutenant Uniform 1939

This picturesque scene is un encampment of the Ilth Indiana, Wallace's Zouaves, the must famous Zouave unit to come from the western states. Here the men wear the regiment's first uniform, which iras grey with red facings. I man with strong Christian beliefs, Colonel Lew Wallace is said to have chosen this rather constrained uniform so as not to emulate the North African Moslem origins of Zouave dress too much. (Michael J. McAfee)

Lew Wallace
The second uniform of Wallace's Zouaves isn't so well known as the first, but lasted the regiment until the end of the war. It featured a dark blue jacket and intriguing tombeaux design. Here il is worn by Private John L. Cook of Company C. (Michael J, McAfee)

the aftermath of Little Round Top, battle-wean Sergeant K.R. Goodrich of Company A, Ellsworth's Avengers wrote: 'At night of July 2 our company was on picket in our front at the foot ol the hill. The ground was literally covered with dead and wounded. It was the worsi picket duty I ever performed. I spent all my time, while on picket, attending to the wounded...It was terrible, some crying some praying some swearing and all wanting help.'

Dur itig that hot dav at (jettysburn1 and throughout the war, Ellsworth's Avengers certainly lived to up to their title.

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