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    Description

    An important piece owned by the founder of modern Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

    Civil War: Coin Silver Presentation Pitcher to Captain Joseph Ellison, Founder of the Mistick Krewe of Comus, by the Members of the New Orleans Confederate Guard, Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, March 20, 1862. The magnificent pitcher is engraved "Presented/ Capt. Jos. Ellison/ By the Officers and Members of/ Co. C. Confederate Regt./ Camp Caroline, March 20, 1862". Below the presentation are the engraved names and ranks of every member of the unit as well as six honorary members, including Joseph's brother William P. Ellison. The pitcher is stamped with early Gorham company marks and "Coin / 250". It stands 11.5" tall and is in excellent condition.

    The Ellison brothers originally from Louisville, Kentucky moved to New Orleans by way of Mobile, Alabama and soon became prominent in business and social circles. In December 1856 the Ellisons and four other men organized a secret society to observe the old Creole Carnival of Mardi Gras. The men chose the name Comus, the Lord of Misrule in John Milton's masque of the same name for their society. The inspiration for the krewe was a Mobile Carnival mystic society called the Cowbellion de Rakin Society which Joseph Ellison was a member. Associated with Comus was the private Pickwick Club.

    During the Civil War, when Federal forces under General Butler and Admiral Farragut closed in on New Orleans, Joseph and William Ellison raised Company "C" of the New Orleans Confederate Guard, Louisiana Infantry, with members of the Mystick Krewe of Comus and the Pickwick Club in the ranks. The unit entered into military service in March, shortly after the krewe published a notice to its members that read, "War has cast its gloom over our happy homes and care usurped the place where joy is wont to hold its sway. Now, therefore, do I deeply sympathizing with the general anxiety, deem it proper to withhold your Annual Festival in this goodly Crescent City."

    Company "C" of the Confederate Guard under the command of Captain Joseph Ellison took part in the defense of New Orleans before the fall of the city in May of 1862. The unit was disbanded upon the surrender of the Confederate garrison. A 1955 article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune tells of Joseph Ellison's continued service to the Confederacy by raising money from Southern sympathizers in the North. He was arrested as a spy and spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner on Dry Tortugas, Florida. Included is extensive research on Captain Ellison. An important piece owned by the founder of modern Mardi Gras in New Orleans and a romantic soldier of the South.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,841

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