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Antebellum Warriors

Ninth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Dr. Dan Sydlowski collection.
Ninth-plate tintype by an anonymous photographer. Dr. Dan Sydlowski collection.

Hosea Ballot Ellis (1822-1889), of Quincy, Mass., is attired in the uniform of a Bay State militiaman. Standard trappings include white shoulder belts, epaulettes and a black waist belt with a two-piece buckle embossed with an eagle and shield. Prominent on his pompon-topped dress cap is a brass letter “H” surrounded by a laurel wreath. The letter may signify Ellis’s membership in the Hancock Light Guards, a militia company formed in Quincy in 1855. Ellis does not appear on the company roll after it became Company H of the 4th Massachusetts Infantry in April 1861. Organized for a three-month enlistment, the 4th fought at the Battle of Big Bethel, Va., on June 10, 1861. One man from the regiment, Francis Lincoln Souther, is claimed by some sources as the first Massachusetts soldier killed in the Civil War.

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