Alexandria Monument Honors Murderer

An additional name, that of James W. Jackson, was added to the east side of the Alexandria Confederate Monument in 1900. Jackson, a civilian, was actually Alexandria’s first Civil War casualty, dying before any of the soldiers with whose names his is inscribed. An ardent secessionist, Jackson was the innkeeper of the Marshall House Hotel. In April 1861, he had hoisted Alexandria’s first Confederate flag over his establishment and vowed to blow to bits any Yankee who interfered with it. On the morning of May 24, 1861, as 24-year-old Colonel Elmer Ellsworth of the 11th New York Infantry marched through the occupied town, he noticed the flag. With a detail of comrades, he left the column, entered the hotel, climbed the stairs, and tore it down. True to his word, Jackson shot Ellsworth dead, only to be killed himself by another Zouave. It was said that Ellworth’s and Jackson’s blood ran together down the steps. Today a bronze plaque on the southeast corner of Pitt and King Streets, just a few blocks from the Confederate statue, marks the spot where both men died.

Testament to Union: Civil War Monuments in Washington, Part 3, page 178
by: Kathryn Allamong Jacobs

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