Elmer Ellsworth was NOT a Derp!!! (Well, maybe a little bit of a Derp . . . but he’s my Derp!)

Ellsworth-portrait-400As I grind through sourcing First Fallen this summer, which is insanely frustrating at times, I had to decide just what I could go dig into myself and what I might–yes–here it comes . . . need to hire a research assistant for. I immediately called Eric Wittenberg for advice, and he told me to call Brown University. No fool I!! I called, and was told by nice people how to create and post an ad for a grad student to do research in the John Hay Library this summer.tired student

I did so, and found a wonderful researcher, and today she sent me this:


I cried. I teach middle school, and I have seen kids do this sort of thing to their names so often. If I ever needed a reminder that Elmer Ellsworth, who began working almost full time when he was fourteen, left home at sixteen, and was well on his way to a career before he was twenty-one, was still just a kid, then this is it.

bee986aad0da66a05a64cce13578469aHe was just a kid, making his way in an adult world–like so, so many of the young men who served, both North and South, in the Civil War. Just. . .  a kid.



6 Responses to Elmer Ellsworth was NOT a Derp!!! (Well, maybe a little bit of a Derp . . . but he’s my Derp!)

  1. Aww, this is precious as well as a bit heartbreaking! So young! The name doodling and the pictures of such young boys having to be men overnight! The story of Elsworth has stayed with me ever since I first heard it. So tragic.. As was the war between the states. The fact that “people”
    are trying to rewrite history by removing every vestage of the Confederacy is a shame!

  2. So glad you have been touched as I was. One of the teachers with whom I work laughed, reminding me that our students (middle-high school) can’t even remember to bring their pencils to class–much less their rifles!

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