Friday, September 28, 2012

Waterford, Ellsworth and the Marshal House Flag: a National Civil War Story Special O’Connor Lecture and Annual Membership Meeting at the Peebles Island Resource Center

Join us Monday, October 22, 7pm at the Peebles Island Resource Center for the O’Connor Lecture and Annual Membership Meeting. Following a brief business meeting there will be a special multimedia presentation entitled “Waterford, Ellsworth and the Marshal House Flag: a National Civil War Story.” The presentation will be given by New York State Flags Project Conservator Sarah Stevens and Independent Historian Paul Schneider.

Colonel Ellsworth, born in Mechanicville, was the first Union officer killed in the Civil War. He was shot after taking down a Confederate flag from the Marshall House in Alexandria, Virginia. In death, he became an instant hero and his story a rallying point for the North. The Confederate flag was recently conserved at the Peebles Island Resource Center and featured on PBS’s History Detectives. Ellsworth also had connections to Waterford and possibly lived here for a few years. This is just the tip of the full story. Join us to learn more!

Ms. Stevens will explain how the Marshall House flag came into the New York State’s Battle Flag collection, the conservation and display of the flag. She will also discuss a new mystery relating to a star, supposedly from the flag, which was donated in 2006 and during the conservation of the flag. Sarah will also show a video, produced for the 1861 Exhibit at the New York State Capitol.

Not only was the flag conserved on Peebles Island, but Waterford has more connections to the story. Paul Schneider will discuss the broad historical overview of the incident in Alexandria resulting in Ellsworth death, some context of the cultural significance of their respective flags to both North and South, the immediate "elevation" of Ellsworth to the status of patriotic martyr, the reaction in Waterford and the participation of Waterford citizens in Ellsworth's funeral procession and burial in Mechanicville, and finally the Waterford role in raising money for and dedicating the monument to Ellsworth.

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