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Ellis Hamilton

Ellis Hamilton

Ellis Hamilton of Camden, New Jersey, the son of a prominent newspaper editor, had been active in the local militia since his early teens. At the age of sixteen, he became a lieutenant in Co. E of the Fifteenth New Jersey Volunteers. He was the youngest officer to be commissioned in the Union army. After intense fighting at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Salem Church in Virginia, he was promoted to captain of Co. F in November 1863 at the age of seventeen. On May 6, 1864, he was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness when a single bullet passed through both his legs. Taken to Seminary Hospital in Georgetown, he died on May 16 at the age of nineteen. He was buried in Trenton’s Mercer Cemetery.

Letter, Ellis Hamilton to His Father, May 5, 1863.

We have been in a big fight, with rebels three to our one, and I am "O.K" if I may except being a good deal tired. I will have to write in haste as Maj. Smith has kindly offered to carry any letters home that the officers of the Brigade may have. I wrote to mother on the 2nd inst. and since that time we have seen some pretty lively times. In the first place, on the afternoon of the 2nd, our picket advanced, from near the water's edge, up to the very front of the hill, where the enemy were intrenched, a distance of about a mile. The next morning, the 6th Corps, which was the only one that crossed the river at that place, advanced on the Rebels and, after fighting about three hours, made a glorious charge on the night and took the hills. The Fifteenth was meanwhile under a heavy artillery and sharpshooter fire, supporting the 1st. Mass. Battery. After the hills had been taken, the whole Corps. marched down to Fredericksburg, leaving Stowe's Division to Garrison the forts on the hill, and then marched on towards Gordonsville to join Hooker on the extreme right. After marching about three miles we met the enemy in the woods and, without a rest, our Right, was ordered into the woods at a Charge. We entered the woods and had not gone over twenty yards, before Col. Brown(comdng the Brigade) ordered me back to send the 3d. Regt in to the support of the 15th. I went back and Maj. Stickney gave the command "Attention. Charge" but only about two companies moved forward and they with not an officer, so I stepped to the front and led in all the 3d. who were brave enough to follow....

Ellis Hamilton Diary, July 5, 1863.

This morning we woke up and found the rebels had skeddadled so we started in pursuit. 1st-Brigade had the 1st [?] skirmish passed through Cashtown and came up with the enemy's picket line in a woods and had a little skirmish. Killing a couple in the 3d. and wounding a Rebel Liet. laid there all night.

Slouch Hat, William F. Warburton, Philadelphia. Felt, velvet, leather and wire, 1862 - 1864.

This example of the Warburton Patent Army Hat worn by Ellis Hamilton has a Sixth Corps badge affixed to the side.