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Alfred Ely (February 15, 1815 – May 18, 1892) was a U.S. Representative from New York. He was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1863), serving New York's 29th congressional district. Ely was captured by Confederate forces while spectating the First Battle of Bull Run.

Alfred Ely
Hon. Alfred Ely, N.Y - NARA - 525356.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th district
In office
March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1863
Preceded bySamuel George Andrews
Succeeded byAugustus Frank
Personal details
Born(1815-02-15)February 15, 1815
Lyme, Connecticut, United States
DiedMay 18, 1892(1892-05-18) (aged 77)
Rochester, New York, United States
Resting placeMount Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York
Political partyRepublican


Early life and political careerEdit

Born in Lyme, Connecticut, Ely attended the common schools and Bacon Academy at Colchester, Connecticut. He moved to Rochester, New York, in 1835. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1841. Ely commenced practice in Rochester.

Ely was elected as a Republican to the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Congresses (March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1863). He served as chairman of the Committee on Invalid Pensions (Thirty-seventh Congress). He was not a candidate for renomination in 1862.

Civil warEdit

While witnessing the First Battle of Bull Run, Congressman Ely was taken a prisoner by the Confederates and imprisoned in Libby Prison of Richmond, Virginia; he was there for nearly six months along with many others. Among those captured was William H. Upham the future 18th Governor of Wisconsin who was a private in the Belle City Rifles of the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

In December 1861, Ely was exchanged for Charles J. Faulkner, by the latter's own negotiations. At 5:00 AM on Christmas Day Ely was set free from Libby Prison. After Ely's release, D. Appleton & Company of New York published a journal of his experience in Libby Prison in 1862. Thereafter, he resumed the practice of law. He died in Rochester, New York, May 18, 1892. He was interred in the Ely vault in Mount Hope Cemetery.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

  • United States Congress. "Alfred Ely (id: E000164)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • "Alfred Ely". Find a Grave. Retrieved September 3, 2010.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel George Andrews
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district

Succeeded by
Augustus Frank