The Avengers

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 Evening Journal. 'Eet the people of New York, his native state, mingle with their tears practical points for avenging bis death.'

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 five feet eight inches tall. They had to be 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 Uniform

This determined-looking character is Private John Langdon Ward of the Salem Zouaves, who became Company / »/ the Hth Regiment Massachusetts I olunteer Militia. Pistols anil knives slin k under bells was a macho display favoured by many volunteers early in the war when they had their photographs taken. John l.angdon Ward was obviously out to impress. ( Michael J. McAfee)

This determined-looking character is Private John Langdon Ward of the Salem Zouaves, who became Company / »/ the Hth Regiment Massachusetts I olunteer Militia. Pistols anil knives slin k under bells was a macho display favoured by many volunteers early in the war when they had their photographs taken. John l.angdon Ward was obviously out to impress. ( Michael J. McAfee)

many were over five feet 10 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'.

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

Colonel Vincent Strong

Ethan I. /'. /¡muster liml serial in the Salem /natives hefnre he became captain <>J Company I. the 2.ini Massachusetts I ulunteer Infantry, anil it seems that Company I wanted to surpass the Salem Zouaves in splendour. II orn in this picture by an unidentified Zouave, Company I's uniform with its ornate tombeaux low on the jacket front and the tasselled sash, would make an y Zouave proud. ( Michael J. McAfee)

Ethan I. /'. /¡muster liml serial in the Salem /natives hefnre he became captain <>J Company I. the 2.ini Massachusetts I ulunteer Infantry, anil it seems that Company I wanted to surpass the Salem Zouaves in splendour. II orn in this picture by an unidentified Zouave, Company I's uniform with its ornate tombeaux low on the jacket front and the tasselled sash, would make an y Zouave proud. ( Michael J. McAfee)

of the eastern theatre. \t Malvern Mill the 44ih made a spirited bayonet charge, spectacularly recalled by \vengcr Lieutenant-colonel James CI. 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, (ill at length beyond the extreme fiont of our forces and within 100 yards of the enemy 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 1 Sf»2. One ragged Hag, retired after Fredericksburg because it had seen so much service, v\as riddled with <S4 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, when 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 be placed next to its 'twin', the 83rd Pennsylvania. This was granted, and the 44th was placed on the right of the 83rd Pennsy lvania 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, but with 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 light 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 44th took over command.

Little Round Top was a dearly bought victory for the 44th and its brother regiments, the 20th Maine and the 83rd Pennsylvania. (The Huh 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 Kugenc L. Dunham of Company I) and Second lieutenant Benjamin V Thomas of Company k. But the enemy had also paid a heavy price. After witnessing the carnage of

This piclitresi/ue scene is tin encampment of the 1 lilt Indiana, Hal/ace's Zouaves, the most famous Zouave unit to come from the western states. Here the men wear the regiment's first uniform, which was grey with reil facings. I man with strong Christian beliefs. Colonel Lew llallace is said to have chosen this rather constrained uniform so as not to emulate the Xortli African Moslem origins of Zouave dress too much. ( Michael J. McAfee)

The Avengers UniformWallaces Zouaves
The second uniform of Wallace's Zouaves isn't so well known as the Jirst, but lasted the regiment until the end of the war. It featured u dark blue jacket and intriguing tombeaux design. Ilere i! is worn by I'rivate John I.. Cook of Compan y G. ( Michael J. Mc Afee)

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

During that hot day at Gettysburg and throughout the war, Kllsworth's \vengers certainly lived to up to their title.

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