From The Constitution, Wednesday, May 29, 1861 (volume 24, number 1222)

Death of Col. Ellsworth

The flags in this city were flying at half mast on Saturday on account of the death of Col. Ellsworth of the Zouave regiment—Throughout the free states there is a universal sentiment of regret at the death of this brave man. But his death was glorious. He was slain just after he had performed a noble act of patriotism n honor of his country’s flag. Though he died young and at the very beginning of the conflict in Virginia, his name will be rendered immortal in the history of the nation.

Elmer E. Ellsworth was a native of Mechanicsville, N. Y. He commenced the study of law in Chicago, and while there organized the famous Chicago Zouaves, a regiment of 1200 men. He afterwards studied law with President Lincoln in Springfield, and was in his office when he was nominated for the Presidency. He stumped the State of Illinois during the Presidential canvass, and was one of the party which accompanied the President elect to Washington. He was a great favorite of Mr. Lincoln’s, who is said to have been affected to tears when he heard of Col. Ellsworth’s death. His age was but 27.

Washington, May 24.

Within a few hours past there have been stirring and important military movements. It was suspected yesterday. Orders had been given for the advance of troops into Virginia, but these being necessarily of secret character, the exact truth could not then be reliably ascertained. The New York second, the twelfth, the seventh, and the seventy-first regiments, the New Jersey and Michigan brigades and Ellsworth’s Zouaves were, so far as at present ascertained, constituted the forces which advanced upon Virginia.

The Washington City national rifles, Capt. Smead, at about ten last night passed over Long Bridge to Virginia shore, halting at the Virginia end until between one and two this morning, acting as advance guard. These were followed by other district volunteers, the companies acting in a similar capacity.

Subsequently the New York 2d and 12th regiments, and the Michigan and New Jersey brigades occupied the bridge, the Virginia pickets having been previously driven in by the advance guard. One of the regiments took the road leading to Fairfax Court House, about twenty miles from Washington ; while another the New Jersey stopped at the forks, a mile from Levy Bridge, to await orders.

An advance into Virginia was also made from another point, namely, at the Potomac aqueduc [sic] at Georgetown, the seventh New York regiment among these troops ; and after several hours march, they occupied a point between the bridge and Columbia Spring, on the line of the Washington and Alexandria railroad. It is understood that orders were issued yesterday for two regiments to proceed to and occupy Alexandria ; and it is said Ellsworth’s Zouaves crossed over in boats.

The New York Zouaves, the 14th and 69th, and the New Jersey regiments, hold Alexandria, while Arlington Heights are occupied by several other regiments.

The entrance into Alexandria was attended by an event which cast the deepest gloom over this community. Col. Ellsworth, who had hauled down the secession flag from the Marshall House, was soon after shot dead by a concealed foe. His dead body has been brought to Washington Navy Yard. The accounts from Alexandria are somewhat confused, but there is no doubt of the fact that the man named Jackson who shot Ellsworth was instantly put to death, some say by both bullet and bayonet.

When the Federal troops reached Alexandria the Virginia troops fired at them and fled.

Visitors to Alexandria say the scene is intensely exciting. The federal vessels were meanwhile before Alexandria.

Among the forces sent into Virginia were two batteries and two companies of artillery. Numerous wagons, with spades, picks and other tools, also passed into that state.

No Free Suffrage Allowed

In Eastern Virginia the plan was carried out to prohibit those persons from voting who were not in favor of secession. It was not intended that a free expression of public sentiment should be given. Senator Mason wrote as follows to a Virginia paper :

“ If it be asked what are those to do who in their consciences cannot vote to separate Virginia from the United States—the answer is simple and plain—honor and duty alike require that they should not vote on the question—if they retain such opinions they must leave the State.”

It appears then that the process of voting, which was supposed to be a free act of the people on the question of secession, was nothing but a device got up for effect. Only secessionists were allowed to vote. Senator Mason himself said that unionists were not to vote, they must leave the State. Already free suffrage is destroyed in Eastern Virginia, and the same may be said of every other section where the tyrants of secession rule. This war is to restore the right of free suffrage, and assert the power of the ballot box.


The Navy Department has employed several clerks, examining the dispatches which were seized by the agents of the Government last week. Every man detected in treasonable telegraphing, will be dealt with promptly, and in a manner not encouraging to spies.

Citizen’s Guard

Messrs. Editors : As there seems to be some misapprehension among a portion of our citizens in regard to the organization and object of this corps, I beg a small space in your columns to state very briefly, that the main design is to have a body of well disciplined men in our midst, who shall be ready at a moment’s warning to meet any sudden emergency near at home, and also to furnish well drilled soldiers to supply existing companies, and any further call which may be made for service under the stars and stripes.

The organization is entirely voluntary ; any member being at liberty to dissolve his connection, whenever he chooses so to do ; but while he remains is expected to conform to the rules and regulations adopted for the government thereof. Another object is to reform the awkward and ungainly habits that many young men fall into, for the want of a proper and systematic drill ; by teaching them to walk upright, with a manly step and bearing. We want to see fewer round shouldered and hump backed men about town, and the way to remedy it, is to shoulder the musket. A charge of exclusiveness has been made against the corps, which probably arises from the fact that all persons wishing to join, are required to be ballotted for and elected by a two third vote—the object being to keep out unworthy persons, who otherwise might creep in.

No young or middle aged citizen of good character and fair proportions, need fear rejection ; but on the other hand, all such are cordially invited, without delay, to send in their names for admission: The organization is not to be confined to one company, but is designed to embrace a battalion. New Haven it is said already boasts of a “Home Guard” 400 strong. Let us see what Middletown can do! Our uniform is simple, cheap and neat—incidental expenses light—Regular meetings for business and drill, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings at 8 o’clock, precisely.

A Member.

Election of a Judge of the Supreme Court

To-morrow, Wednesday, as been fixed by the Legislature for the election of a Judge of the [Connecticut] Supreme Court to fill the vacancy occasioned by the withdrawal of Judge Ellsworth, who will reach the constitutional limit of his term of office in November next. Among the candidates for the office will be Gov. Dutton of New Haven, Elisha Corpenter [i.e., Carpenter] of Killingly, and Norton J. Buel of Waterbury. As Middletown is already most worthily represented in the person of the Chief Justice, we modestly refrain from urging the claims of any of our lawyers.


Shad have been plentifully caught in the river since the freshets. In some places they have been a drug in the market, dealers being glad to get ten cents apiece. It is reported that a farmer near the mouth of the river used them on his land instead of white fish, but the story sounds fishy. In this city the price has been high during the season—eight cents a pound.


The heavy thunder storms which we had on Monday reduced the temperature and made it decidedly cool this morning.

Arrival of the Etna

Very Important Action of England

The steamer, Etna, Captain Kennedy, from Liverpool, 15th, was boarded off Cape Race by the news yacht, Friday afternoon. She has nearly £300,000 in specie.

A proclamation has been issued by the British government, relative to the rebellion in the United States, taking a position of strict neutrality, and warning British subjects against engaging in the American war ; against obtaining recruits or fitting out vessels of war, or breaking or attempting to break any blockade lawfully and effectually established ; declaring that they do these things at their own peril, as it is the intention of England to maintain a strict impartiality between the United State government and certain states styling themselves the confederated states.

The British screw frigate “Mersey,” of 40 guns, has sailed for American stations. The French will also send a naval force to look after their interests.

The Duke of Bedford is dead.

The cotton growing company of Jamaica has determined to plant several thousand acres forthwith, so that the crop may be delivered in Manchester before the end of the year.

The Spanish government has given assurances that slavery shall not be re-established in its newly annexed territory of San Domingo.

There were vague rumors that England and France had agreed to recommend Austria to cede the Venetian territory to Italy for money.

Spain has ordered six first class war frigates in order to be equal to America on the sea.

Lifting the Skirts–

But a little lower down.—Look at her limbs swathed in forty yards of dry-goods, layer upon layer, to catch winds, and fetter and confine every motion. (Don’t exclaim that it is extravagant!—stop and count up.) I have seen many a lady with seventy-five yards of clothing hanging about them. A few times I have counted it up into higher figures. And with all this weight of sail she must scud before life’s fiercest gales, and bear her own share of its burdens.

Put a man into trailing skirts, and ask him to be a merchant, bank director, railroad conductor, even a cook in a hotel or steamer, or porter, or errand boy, or waiter—let him try it a day, and my word for it, he would ‘pitch in’ to any ‘Young American’ on the corner for the first insult offered to the lady who dared to fit her dress to her own business.

To-day it rains, and the mud will compel one thousand (may hap ten) white skirts to the wash tub in Chicago.

How many in this glorious independent country of ours, that hangs on France for her styles as a babe hangs on its mother, no one can estimate. How many ruined dresses, how many bad colds, how many bad coughs, how many doctors bills, let those who dare, attempt to estimate.

Man splashes through all this with his appropriate clothing, his thick boots and rubbers unscathed. Why may not women, at least those who have to labor for their bread?

Now, sisters of Illinois, shall these things always be? I see that the feet have made their plea for better usage, and thick soles, high heels and substantial uppers, stamp along the streets under the patronage of crinoline, silk and satin. Can’t we make a long pull, a strong pull, and a pull altogether, and lift our skirts four inches out of the mud?

Such a measure would pay off the national debt in time, provided we gave all the savings to that work. If we can’t adopt Dr. Austin’s costume, can’t we at least resolve not to wear at any given time over thirty-six yards of dry-goods?

Will it pay to squander the wealth, health, happiness, energy, usefulness, and talent of woman? I say—Illinois can’t afford it !—By Mrs. Francis D. Gage.