About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: With the 11th New York Fire Zouaves In Camp,...
Publisher: Schroeder Publications
Publication Date: 2011
Book Condition: BRAND NEW
Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
About this title
After 150 years this is the first book-length work regarding the 11th New York Fire Zouaves. No Federal regiment marched to war with such high expectations for military glory than the one led by the charismatic Colonel Elmer Ellsworth composed of members of New York City s Fire Department known for their physical prowess and reckless. Ellsworth, had moved from Mechanicville, NY, to Illinois at age 17, where he joined the state militia and studied law in the office of Abraham Lincoln. He transformed a Chicago militia company into the United States Zouave Cadets. Outfitted them in Zouave uniforms, and trained them in the complex maneuvers, and captured the National Drill Competition title in 1859. The following summer, Ellsworth and his Zouave Cadets embarked on a tour of some twenty cities and dazzled the crowd of admirers. The dashing Ellsworth became a national celebrity, and his company s success spawned a zouave craze that swept the country on the eve of Civil War. Ellsworth managed to quickly equip his troops an on April 29, 1861 sporting jaunty gray uniforms with red fire shirts and kepis the Fire Zouaves departed for Washington. Arriving at the capital, the firemen s antics and occasional depredations soon made it clear that Ellsworth faced a considerable challenge in training and discipline. In the predawn darkness of May 24, 1861, the Fire Zouaves boarded transports and embarked for Alexandria. In a move that displayed more zeal than wisdom, Ellsworth proceeded to the roof Marshall House hotel and removed a large Confederate flag, but was shot by the innkeeper on his way down the stairs. Zouave Corporal Francis Brownell quickly avenged Ellsworth s death. Those deadly seconds gave both North and South their first martyrs. Colonel Noah Farnham took command and led the regiment into the Union debacle at Bull Run on July 21, 1861, where the Fire Zouaves played a controversial part in the bloody fight for Henry House Hill. One zouave who saw the elephant there was Private Arthur O Niel Alcock. His detailed prolific accounts appeared in The New York Atlas and New York Leader. Alcock s effusive columns reflected no small degree of wit and literary ability. A comrade noted, Alcock always displayed much ability with the pen, as well as all the characteristics of a jolly good fellow. Initially considered for the captaincy of Company A, Alcock chose to go to war as Colonel Ellsworth s military secretary. At Bull Run, he was detailed to the regimental surgeon, Dr. Charles Gray, as acting medical orderly and supervisor of the stretcher bearers (but entered the fight for a time). In that capacity Alcock found himself en route to the great clash of arms that transpired on the plains of Manassas. The journalist/soldier was taken prisoner, eventually transferred from Richmond to Castle Pinckney, Charleston harbor, SC, and following ten months of captivity in Southern prisons recorded his experiences in a series of articles published in the Atlas. In May 1862, Alcock was exchanged. In the months following Bull Run the 11th New York had returned to the front but continued to suffer from disciplinary lapses that at times brought the regiment to a condition bordering on anarchy. By late May the entire unit was back in New York and in disbanded. Alcock resumed his position as Fire Editor of the Atlas. In mid August of 1862, the paper began to serialize a account of his experiences. He reenlisted in the 10th New York Infantry and was mortally wounded at Laurel Hill (Spotsylvania Court House) on May 8, 1864. The publication of Alcock s letters honor a sensitive and literate volunteer and after 150 years is the first book-length narrative of the 11th New York Fire Zouaves.About the Author:
One zouave who saw the elephant at Bull Run was Arthur O Niel Alcock, a former journalist serving as a private in the 11th New York. His detailed account was serialized in The New York Atlas. Arthur O. Alcock was a native of Wales, and though his exact date of birth has yet to be determined, census and military records indicate the year was likely 1820. He resided in the village of Llangorse, Breconshire, where on November 13, 1845, he married 24-year-old Anne Marsden, the daughter of Reverend Benjamin Marsden, who officiated at the local Church of England. The couple emigrated to New York City in 1848 with their oneyear-old son, and settled in Yorkville a community to the east of Central Park, which was in the process of being absorbed by the expanding metropolis. Between 1852 and 1858 three more children were born to the Alcocks, and the outbreak of war found them residing on 83rd Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. Alcock was employed as editor of the Fire and Military Department of The New York Atlas, a weekly journal that was one of several Manhattan papers providing extensive coverage of Fire Department matters. A volunteer fireman himself, Alcock s effusive, occasionally rambling columns reflected no small degree of wit and literary ability. John Leverich, the Fire Editor of the New York Leader who joined the Fire Zouaves as captain of Company E noted that his friend Alcock always displayed much ability with the pen, as well as all the characteristics of a jolly good fellow. Alcock s regiment was heavily engaged at the battle of the Wilderness, losing 95 men in the fight of May 6, 1864. Four days later, Colonel Carroll s brigade took part in an assault on the Confederate defenses near Laurel Hill, one of the engagements comprising the battle of Spotsylvania. At 4 p.m. the 10th New York advanced in the first of three successive lines of battle. They traversed a burning patch of woods, pushed their way through a tangled barrier of abatis, and stormed on toward the enemy earthworks. There, as Carroll reported, the charge recoiled in the face of a concentrated and murderous fire. Thirty-six soldiers of the 10th New York were cut down in the failed assault, and the dead included the battalion s commander and color sergeant. Arthur Alcock was among the severely wounded, struck by a minie ball that slammed into his left leg above the knee, breaking the bone. Evacuated to the rear Alcock endured the amputation of his mangled limb, and as soon as he was able to travel was sent north. On May 28, he was admitted to the Armory Square General Hospital in Washington, DC. But Alcock was unable to rally from his injury, and on June 16, 1864, he succumbed to his wound.
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