By Jonathan K. T. Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 1996


(Page 54)

From ACTS OF TENNESSEE, 1853-1854 (Nashville, 1854), pages 788-789:


WHEREAS, It is not only the policy but the duty of a government to cherish, and when displayed in an eminent degree in its behalf, to reward the courage and patriotism of its citizens; and whereas, the late Lieutenant THOMAS EWELL, being at the time a citizen of Tennessee, exhibited on the 18th April, 1847, in the battle of Cerro Gordo, the highest courage; and in the loss of his life, and by the sentiments he uttered in his last moments, gave the strongest proof of his devotion to the glory and honor of his country; and whereas it is now out of the power of this State to testify to him in any way, its approval; but being sensible of his deserts and wishing to notice with its applause, his heroic conduct and death: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, That the courage and patriotism displayed by the late THOMAS EWELL at the battle of Cerro Gordo in the Republic of Mexico, would have entitled him, if alive, to the highest honor and applause from his fellow-citizens of Tennessee and being dead, do entitle him to their affectionate and mournful remembrance; and believing, that next to the satisfaction which the approval of his countrymen would have excited in his mind, if alive, would be the knowledge, that such approval was communicated to his mother; Therefore,
BE T FURTHER RESOLVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, 2nd, That the Governor of this State be requested to transmit a copy of this resolution to his mother, Mrs. ELIZABETH EWELL of Prince William County in the State of Virginia.


Wm. H. Wisener
Speaker of the House of Representatives

Edwin Polk
Speaker of the Senate

Adopted, February 15, 1854.



THOMAS EWELL as one of the children of Thomas Beale Ewell (1785-1846) and his wife, Elizabeth (Stoddert) Ewell (1785-1859) of Virginia. As a youngster he went to live with a maternal uncle, William Stoddert in Jackson, Tennessee, in which town he was educated. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, young Ewell served as a recruiter, as Second Lieutenant of the Mounted Rifles, U.S.A. He was in service with other Americans, including the Second Tennessee Regiment commanded by General Winfield Scott. In the battle of Cerro Gordo, Ewell received a mortal wound, April 18, 1847. In his official dispatch from Plan del Rio, near Cerro Gordo, Mexico, General Scott wrote, April 19, 1847, "And I know, from personal observation on the ground, that 1st. Lieutenant Ewell, of the Rifles, if not dead, was mortally wounded, in entering, sword in hand, the entrenchments" of the enemy. (DAILY EAGLE, Memphis, Tenn., May 20, 1847)

At a dinner given in Memphis, Tennessee for returning troops from the war Ewell, grandson of Benj. Stoddert, first Secretary of the Navy" who was "one of the first men who scaled the breastworks at Cerro Gordo. He gave his life to the glory of his country, worthy of his grandsire." (DAILY ENQUIRER, Memphis, May 14, 1847) At a dinner held in the Gayoso Hotel in Memphis, June 2, 1847, Colonel William T. Haskell paid a beautiful tribute to Lt. Ewell, one "which brought tears from the eyes of nearly all those present." (DAILY EAGLE, Memphis, June 3, 1847)

The body of Lt. Thomas Ewell, along with that of Wiley P. Hale of Jackson, was returned in a medal coffin and buried in Riverside Cemetery, Jackson. The exact site of his grave has been lost to memory, although he is probably buried in the burial lot of his uncle, William Stoddert, in an unmarked grave.


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