Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Elmer Ellsworth & the U.S. Zouave Cadets-- Part 4: National Champions!
Next, Elmer Ellsworth went to Chicago and took command of the National Guard Cadets in 1859. This group was on the verge of bankruptcy and danger of disbanding. Ellsworth changed their name to the United States Zouave Cadets and started training them the Zouave way. They appeared on July 4, 1859, at the famed hotel, Tremont House, in Chicago.
The Cadets found their new commander and drillmaster really took his job very seriously. They had to sign a pledge not to enter a saloon, house of ill repute or be caught playing billiards anywhere. If they were, expulsion would follow.
The Cadets had an armory and gymnasium in Chicago at the corner of State and Roosevelt.
They then went on competition to get a stand of colors worth $500. They won, but other militias claimed unfairly so. This enabled the U.S. Zouave Cadets to claim the National Championship.
Ellsworth decided to go on a national tour to prove how good they were.