WE publish above, from a recent
photograph, a portrait of COLONEL. ELLSWORTH, the commander of the Fire Zouaves
of this city. Colonel Ellsworth's face and gallant bearing are well known to
most of our citizens, and they will be glad to meet him once more in our pages.
The Colonel is quite a young man,
being only about twenty-seven years of age. He is a native of New England, and
studied for a time at West Point, acquiring the usual proficiency in the manual
of military exercise and the use of arms.
Some years ago he removed to
Chicago, Illinois, and settled there. His love for military pursuits still
endured, and conceiving—shortly after the Crimean war—a decided opinion that the
Zouave tactics were more practically efficient than those of our ordinary light
infantry, he set to work to raise a corps of Zouaves in Chicago. Some forty or
fifty young men joined his company, and he devoted himself to drilling them. In
the course of a year or so, they arrived at such a pitch of perfection both in
the light infantry drill and in the Zouave tactics, that many of their friends
were anxious that they should visit the East to show what Chicago could do.
Accordingly, in July, 1860, they left Chicago on a pleasure tour.
On 14th July they arrived in this
city, after a triumphant progress through the Western States. At that time the
Zouave drill was new to most of us. The fantastic dress of our visitors, their
strange evolutions, and the masterly precision of their drill, attracted general
attention not only among military mien, but among the public at large. All the
Colonels of our crack city regiments attended their exhibitions, and studied
Colonel Ellsworth's maneuvers, and at last, so great was the desire of our
ladies to witness the Chicago boys, that an exhibition was given for them in the
Academy of Music which was crammed by the elite of society. Colonel Ellsworth
may safely be described as the Father of the Zouave drill in the United States.
At the present time, there are several thousand well-drilled Zouaves in the
North and West.
On his return home, the young
Colonel was of course much feted by his Fellow-citizens, and new Zouave
Companies were formed on the model of his.
Among other persons who paid him
marked attention was
Mr. Lincoln, then merely a candidate for the Presidency.
After the election
Mr. Lincoln signaled his intention of attaching Colonel
Ellsworth to his person ; and when, in February last, he departed on his journey
to Washington, Colonel Ellsworth was invited to form one of his escort. He was,
the reporters tell us, one of the most useful of the party, ever watchful of Mr.
Lincoln's person, and always in good temper and ready for any thing that could
render the journey pleasant.
It was generally supposed that
Colonel Ellsworth would be placed in a prominent position in the War Department
under Mr. Lincoln. It is understood that his claims were urged by
Sumner, and that some post—perhaps the Chief Clerkship—was mentioned in
connection with his name. It is not likely, however, that he sought any such
inglorious berth. On the outbreak of the war he sought active service. And
having had an opportunity of judging what excellent material for soldiers was
contained in the New York Fire Department, he bethought himself of forming out
of them a Zouave Regiment.
The idea was a happy one. Our
firemen, brave as steel, would be restive under the stiff restraints of light
infantry tactics, whereas the comparative freedom and dash of the Zouave drill
suit them exactly. In the course of a couple of days over a thousand firemen
volunteered. Some ten companies were accepted, the regiment was formed, and sent
to Fort Hammilton for drill. They have since left for Washington, and, whatever
happens, will doubtless give a good account of themselves,