b. 1828 St Mary's County, Maryland. d. 28/01/1898 ?
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/09/1864 New Market Heights, Virginia.
Born in Saint Mary's County, Maryland, Harris worked as a farmer before joining the U.S. Army from Great Mills at age 36. He enlisted on February 14, 1864, as a private in Company B of the 38th United States Colored Troops regiment. He was promoted to corporal five months later, on July 25, and to sergeant two months after that, on September 10
At the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, on September 29, 1864, Harris' regiment was among a division of black troops assigned to attack the center of the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights. The defenses consisted of two lines of abatis and one line of palisades manned by Brigadier General John Gregg's Texas Brigade. The attack was met with intense Confederate fire; over fifty percent of the black troops were killed, captured, or wounded. The initial attack stalled at the abatis, but when a renewed effort began, Harris and two other men of the 38th USCT, Private William H. Barnes and Sergeant Edward Ratcliff, ran at the head of the assault. Being the first to breach the defenses, the three soldiers engaged the Confederates in hand-to-hand combat. They were soon joined by the remainder of their division, and the Confederate force was routed.
Over nine years later, on February 18, 1874, he was issued the Medal of Honor for "[g]allantry in the assault" at Chaffin's Farm.
Gallantry in the assault.
BURIAL LOCATION: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
Section 27, Site 985-H