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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    (Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier")    Hilary Valentine Harris, Autograph letter signed, July 7, 1863

Hilary Valentine Harris, Autograph letter signed, July 7, 1863

Unidentified soldier in Confederate uniform of Co. E, Lynchburg Rifles, 11th Virginia Infantry Volunteers, 1861

Unidentified soldier in Confederate uniform of Co. E, "Lynchburg Rifles," 11th Virginia Infantry Volunteers, 1861

Library of Congress,

Prints and Photographs Division

Picketts charge from a position on the enemys line looking toward the Union lines

Pickett's Charge from a position on the Confederate line looking toward the Union lines

Library of Congress,

Prints and Photographs Division

Location
Pearce Museum at Navarro College, Corsicana, Tex. External Link
Background
Hilary Valentine Harris was born Mar. 8, 1839 at Mill Quarter Plantation in Powhatan County, Va. He enlisted in the Confederate Army on Apr. 23, 1861, and mustered into the 11th Virginia Infantry, company G. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1862 and to Lieutenant in 1863, assuming the role of Adjutant on Apr. 7, 1863. Harris was killed at Sailor's Creek on Apr. 6, 1865.
Contents
Autograph letter signed by Lt. H.V. Harris to his father, four days after taking part in Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg, describing the charge and the tremendous loss of life.

“We are here again (our Div'n) after having passed through the bloodiest battle of the war Gettysburg, Pa. and again I have been shielded through greater dangers than I have ever undergone before; until the 3d July our forces had fought the enemy for several days successfully and had driven them many miles, capturing about nine thousand prisoners, on that day they occupied an entrenched position on the mountains between Gettysburg and Balto and near the former, it was undoubtedly the strongest position that has been assaulted during this war and we were repulsed on a most desperate attempt to capture it, with tremendous loss. The fight on the 3rd commenced at 12 o'clock with 150 pieces of artillery on either side which was kept up almost constantly for two hours. It was terrific and we lost a good many men from it as we had no shelter except the slight crest of a hill. Our lines then charged all along (except Ewell's extreme left) our Division over about a mile of open country and there were but few left to reach the enemy's works and we so weak that although the enemy broke we could not hold them."

During the charge, Lt. Harris carried the regiment's colors and witnessed the death of his brigade leader Brig. Gen. James L. Kemper. Harris made his way across the open field and reached the stone wall alive.

(See the NUCMC catalog record)

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 Home    Documentary Heritage of the Civil War    (Part 2, 2012: "Gone to be a Soldier")    Hilary Valentine Harris, Autograph letter signed, July 7, 1863
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   October 16, 2014
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