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Francis E. Brownell

Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Chicago Albumen Works
Francis Edwin Brownell, 1839 - 1894
1861 (printed 2010)
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Image: 9 × 6 cm (3 9/16 × 2 3/8")
Sheet: 15 × 12.5 cm (5 7/8 × 4 15/16")
Mat: 35.6 × 28 cm (14 × 11")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
Exhibition Label
After the Marshall House incident, Corporal Francis E. Brownell tried to correct the notion that Ellsworth had acted impetuously and in his own self-interest in seizing the Confederate flag. He argued that Ellsworth's true motivation was to prevent his excitable Zouaves from discovering the flag on their own and committing uncontrollable acts of retaliation. After the war, Brownell petitioned Congress on his own behalf for the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor. Brownell received the coveted medal in 1877; this marked the first action in the Civil War to merit the award.
Brownell escorted Ellsworth's body back to his native state of New York. About this time, while in New York City, he stopped in Mathew Brady's studio, where this photograph of him was taken wearing a black armband and standing on a pseudo rebel flag. The original bloodstained flag was given to the first lady, Mary Todd Lincoln.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
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