Colonel 10th W. Va. Infantry
Brevet Major-General U. S. Volunteers
Presented by Linda Fluharty.
Colonel Thomas M. Harris
Colonel Thomas M. Harris
Thomas Maley Harris, born 13 June 1817, was the son of John and Nancy "Agnes" (Maley) Harris of Harrisville, Wood County, Va. This area, named after Thomas Harris, the uncle of General Harris, is now Ritchie County, formed from Harrison, Lewis and Wood Counties in 1843.
John Harris and Nancy "Agnes," daughter of Lawrence and Agnes (Harper) Maley, were married 29 Nov 1810 in Wood County. Thomas Maley Harris, married Sophia T. Hall 4 Oct 1841 in Wood County. [Virginia Marriages 1740-1850].
Thomas and Sophia had four children before Sophia died in October 1883 in Harrisville. She is buried in Harrisville Cemetery. Following her death, Thomas married Clara Maley. Thomas died 30 Sep 1906 and is also buried in Harrisville Cemetery.
By far the best introduction to General Thomas Maley Harris is in the pages of History of Ritchie County, by Minnie Kendall Lowther, published about 1911 by Wheeling News Litho Company.
1850 Census, Ritchie County, (W)Va.
Thos. M. Harris, 37, Physician, $2000, b Va
Sophia T., 32, b Mass.
Martha A., 4, b Va.
Mary V., 1, b Va.
Phelps, Lewis A., 23, Merchant, b Va.
Cunningham, Benjamin, 18, Laborer, b Va.
1860 Census, Glenville, Gilmer County, (W)Va.
Thos. M. Harris, 47, M. D., $2000, $1000, b Wood Co Va
Sophia T., 42, b Franklin?, Mass.
Martha A., 14, b Ritchie Co Va.
Mary V., 11, b Ritchie Co Va.
John T., 9, b Ritchie Co Va
1870 Census, Harrisville, Ritchie County, (W)Va.
Thomas M. Harris, 57, Adjutant General of W.Va., $7500, $800, b (W)Va
Sophia, 53, Keeping House, b Mass
Martha, 24, Teaching School, b (W)Va
Mary V., 21, Teaching School, b (W)Va
Stewart, Margaret, 31, Domestic Servant, (W)Va
Wood, Margaret, 37, Visiting for health, b Mass
1880 Census, Union District, Ritchie County, W.Va.
T. M. Harris, 66, Farmer, Va Va Pa
Sophia, 62, Wife, Keeping House, Mass, Mass, Mass
Campbell, R. F., niece, 28, visitor, Mass, Mass, Mass
Robinson, Mrs., Servant, 40, Pa Pa Pa
1890 Census, Ritchie County, W.Va.
Gen Thomas M. Harris; 10 WVI; 10 Mar 1862-30 Apr 1866.
Lt. Col recruited a regt & brevet Brig General
1900 Census, Union District, Ritchie County, W.Va.
T. M. Harris, 86, b June 1813, Physician, Married 11 Yrs, Va Va Pa
Clara W., Wife, b Feb 1834, 66, children 0/0, WVa Pa Pa
Shepherd, Francis, Adopted, b Dec 1884, 15, WVa, Unknown, Unknown
1910 Census, Union District, Ritchie County, W.Va.
Clara W., Head, 70, Widowed, children 0, Va Va Va
Shepherd, Frances, Adopted Dau, 25, Single, WV WV WV
From: Generals In Blue, by Ezra Warner;
Louisiana State University Press, 1964; pages 209-210.
THOMAS MALEY HARRIS was born on June 17, 1817, in Wood County (now Ritchie) on the Ohio River, in that part of Virginia, which in 1862  became West Virginia. He studied medicine and in the years before the war practiced his profession at Harrisville and Glenville, Virginia. In the latter part of 1861, Harris aided in recruiting the 10th West Virginia and upon its muster was appointed first its lieutenant colonel and on May 20, 1862, its colonel. The regiment shared in the reverses sustained during Stonewall Jackson's celebrated Shenandoah Valley campaign. In May, 1863, Harris and his regiment were ordered back to West Virginia and attached to William W. Averell's "Fourth Separate" brigade. After participation in some minor operations, it took part in the bloody fight at Cloyd's Mountain in May, 1864, where Confederate General A. G. Jenkins was mortally wounded. That summer Harris commanded a brigade under George Crook during Jubal Early's raid on Washington and subsequently in the Shenandoah Valley campaign, under the leadership of Philip Sheridan, distinguished himself in command of a division of the Army of West Virginia at Winchester and at Cedar Creek. He was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers for his services at the latter battle and on March 29, 1865, was accorded full rank. Meantime, on December 19, 1864, Harris' division was ordered to the Petersburg front, where it was attached to the Army of the James and took part in the final operations against Robert E. Lee's army. After serving on the commission which tried the Abraham Lincoln conspirators, Harris was mustered out in 1866 with the brevet rank of major general for "gallant conduct in the assault on Petersburg." After the war General Harris served one term in the West Virginia legislature, was adjutant general of the state in 1869-70, and was pension agent at Wheeling from 1871 to 1877. In addition he practiced his profession and authored several medical essays and a religious tract entitled "Calvinism Vindicated." He also wrote a very prejudiced account of the Lincoln conspirators' trial, Assassination of Lincoln. He died in Harrisville on September 30, 1906, at the age of ninety, and was buried in the town cemetery. (*187)
(*187) - The author is indebted to Mr. Boyd S. Stutler, Charleston, West Virginia, for certain facts of General Harris' career.
BREVET MAJ.-GEN'L THOMAS M. HARRIS.
GENERAL HARRIS A DISCIPLINARIAN. - GENERAL FREMONT'S COMMENDATION IN A SPECIAL ORDER. - COMMANDS A BRIGADE AT THE BATTLES OF OPEQUON AND FISHER'S HILL. - ALSO CEDAR CREEK. - COLONEL THOBURN WOUNDED, HARRIS BECOMES A DIVISION COMMANDER. - IN THE 24TH ARMY CORPS AT CITY POINT, VIRGINIA. - COMMISSIONED A BRIGADIER-GENERAL. - AT APPOMATTOX. - A MEMBER OF THE COMMISSION THAT TRIED THE ASSASSINS OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. - MUSTERED OUT APRIL 30TH, 1866, BREVET MAJOR-GENERAL.
GENERAL HARRIS, whilst colonel of the Tenth Regiment, established a character for energy and faithfulness in obeying orders. He was always on hand for any duty to which he was assigned and always received honorable mention for his intelligent and efficient obedience. He had so schooled his regiment in discipline and tactics that it had early in the service established a character for reliability, and so this regiment got frequent opportunities to distinguish itself in the high places of the field. Whilst in command of the "Mountain Department" under General Fremont, he received the commendation of that officer in a special order for his intelligent and efficient discharge of the duties to which he had been assigned.
In June, 1862, Colonel Harris was in command of the forces stationed at Buckhannon. His services at this time were especially valuable to the government, by reason of the fact that that part of the State was infested with leading Confederates, who sought to influence the country people for miles around that it was to their personal interest and to the advancement of the Confederate cause for them to join either the Confederate army, or to engage as guerrillas. Recruiting stations were established in the fastnesses of the mountains for this purpose, and some of the most influential men in that vicinity were known to be engaged as recruiting officers. They found little encouragement from the better element among the mountaineers willing to enlist in the regular army, but they were quite successful in engaging the lower element for the despicable purposes of guerrilla warfare.
Colonel Harris was directed by General Fremont, then in command of the Mountain Department, to capture and break up these recruiting stations. Colonel Harris' familiarity with that entire region fitted him well to perform this service. He not only destroyed the recruiting stations, but he killed and captured many of the enemy and secured all the arms and ammunition at these stations, capturing three of the officers, viz.: Haymond, Coal and Goff. These men were well known in the community as F. F. V.'s, but it is not likely that their names will appear in the history of the Civil War as having contributed to the elevation of the Confederate cause. When Colonel Harris' regiment was incorporated in the Army of West Virginia, he was assigned to the command of a brigade. He, with his command, won honorable mention at the battles of Opequon and Fisher's Hill. At the battle of Cedar Creek it was his command that was first struck by the enemy at daybreak, as its position was on the extreme left of our line. Being surprised and receiving a flank attack it could only get out of the way of the enemy as best it could. The flank attack being pushed by the enemy, the 19th Corps was in like manner broken up and routed. The enemy continuing to push his advantage broke up our line so far that only one division of the 6th Corps remained in its position on the extreme right. During this demoralization and retrograde movement of our disorganized forces, Colonel Harris distinguished himself by his efforts to arrest the movement in retreat and to establish nuclei for a reforming of our lines. Whilst thus engaged the flag of the division came to him from Colonel Thoburn, its commander, who had just been mortally wounded. Colonel Harris being the next in rank came thus into the command of the division.
At the close of the campaign of 1864, in the Shenandoah Valley, he received an order to report with his division to General Grant at City Point, and was assigned to the 24th Army Corps under command of General Gibbon. When preparation began to be made for the opening of the spring campaign, he voluntarily offered the command of his division to General Turner who was then serving as a staff officer, and he took command of a brigade under Turner. He was moved to do this by his knowledge of the fact that Generals Ord and Gibbon desired to give General Turner a command and from the fact that Turner not only held a commission as a general officer but was also a graduate of West Point, whilst he himself, though in command of a division, held only a colonel's commission.
As the term of four or five companies of his regiment was now about to expire, they having been mustered into the service on the 29th of March, 1862, and so he would be left without a command, Generals Ord and Gibbon undertook to secure his promotion. Having received the favorable endorsement of General Grant, the recommendation was forwarded to the Secretary of War, but came back with the endorsement: "There is no vacancy." A few days later, the Secretary visited the army and reviewed Colonel Harris' division. When the colonel turned off at the head of the review and took his position at the side of the reviewing officer, the Secretary said to him in a quiet way: "General Ord and General Grant have been urging your promotion but there was no vacancy. You will just stay here with your command and I will go home and make a vacancy. I will muster out some one whom we can spare." He received his commission of brigadier-general on the afternoon of the 29th of March, 1865, whilst on the march against Petersburg. At Appomattox it was his brigade that confronted Gordon on tile road leading to Lynchburg, and he had the honor of silencing the last guns ever put in position by General Lee. Returning to Richmond after the surrender he was detailed to serve on the commission that tried the assassins of PresIdent Lincoln;* and then receiving an order to report to General Terry, was assigned to duty in the Freedmen's Bureau department, and was placed in command of the District of the Northern Neck, with headquarters at Fredericksburg. He remained in this service until Christmas, when he received a furlough to visit his family and to await orders. He was mustered out of the service by a general order dated April 30, 1866, and a few days later was tendered the appointment as lieutenant-colonel of the 31st Infantry in the reorganization of the army. This flattering appointment he felt constrained not to accept on account of his age and the condition of his health.
*General Harris has written and had published in book form "A History of the Great Conspiracy, and Trial of the Conspirators by a Military Commission" which is the fullest and most complete account of that great trial that has as yet been given. - AUTHOR.
TENTH REGIMENT W. VA. INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS.
Roster of Field, Staff and Company Officers of the Tenth Regiment West Virginia infantry Volunteers, Showing the Alterations and Casualties therein, from the Date of Original Organization of the Regiment to the Date of Muster Out, August 9, 1865.
Field & Staff, Page 2
Field & Staff, Page 3
This regiment was recruited by T. M. Harris, who was a practicing physician at Glenville, Gilmer County, W. Va., at the breaking out of the war. At the solicitation of General Rosecrans, Dr. Harris visited Governor Peirpoint at Wheeling in the latter part of July, 1861, and obtained his consent to recruit a regiment for the Union service with the understanding that in the event of his success in recruiting a regiment he should receive a commission as its colonel. He entered upon his work on the third day of August, 1861, and completed the organization of the l0th Regiment and received a colonel's commission to command the same, about the 3d of May, 1862.
The doctor had an extensive acquaintance with the country and the people and traveled over about 12 counties of the State, some of them several times, during the fall of 1861 and the winter of 1861-62, gathering recruits from the loyal portion of the population. His first visit to a county was for the purpose of hunting out suitable men for his line officers. In this work he used great discrimination and made very few mistakes. The result was that his regiment, when organized, was under command of brave, intelligent and intensely loyal men. In this way its future good record was assured.
The doctor found his task a tedious and difficult one. He found plenty of loyal people, but at that early period of the war they were laboring under the delusion that the war would be a short one and there would be enough of troops raised in the States North and West to put down the rebellion without their aid. He succeeded in getting four or five companies organized during the fall months of 1861, and these were put into service by the generals in command, at the request of the Governor, at points along the border line between the loyal and disloyal portions of the State, for the protection of the loyal people against guerilla raids. In this service they distinguished themselves as constituting a vigilant, intelligent and brave line of outposts. The service of this regiment after its organization in May, 1862, until June, 1864, was mostly in West Virginia. Having been recruited from the hardy mountaineers of the State, it was so particularly well adapted to the purpose of protecting the loyal interests against the enemy that the Governor was l0th to give it up to any other service. It had the confidence of the loyal people who felt safe under its protection. In June, 1864, it was ordered to Martinsburg, and became incorporated into the organizations that were then being formed for operations against the enemy's threatened advance down the Shenandoah Valley and was finally incorporated in the command known in army orders as the "Army of West Virginia," under General Crook.
At the close of the Valley campaign in December, 1864, it was sent, under the command of its former colonel, now commanding a division, to City Point, where it became incorporated with the 24th Army Corps and it served in this corps during the remainder of its term of service. This regiment was noted for its prowess, courage, intrepidity and general reliability. It participated in many hard fought engagements and always came out with a splendid record. Most of its officers distinguished themselves for soldierly qualities and many of its private men won honorable mention. It was perhaps not excelled by any regiment in the service from this or any other State.
From the time that Colonel Harris was assigned to the command of a brigade, the command of the 10th Regiment devolved on its lieutenant-colonel, M. S. Hall. This officer was a native of Massachusetts who came to Virginia in 1845, being then 21 years old, and studied medicine with Dr. Harris, who had married his sister. He had been engaged in the practice of medicine for several years and was living at Harrisville, in the County of Ritchie, when the war broke out. He was among the pioneer Republicans of the State and being of an ardent temperament and very patriotic, he engaged in recruiting a company for the loyal service in May, 1861, and had it ready for muster in on the 4th of July, 1861. His first commission was that of captain and he was assigned to the command of Company K of the Third Regiment. This company had been recruited by him from the loyal young men of his acquaintance, mostly from the county of Ritchie and for three years of service. He continued in command of this company until the organization of the 10th Regiment in May, 1862, when, at the solicitation of Colonel Harris, he was promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the l0th. In this capacity he served until the expiration of the term of its enlistment. In every capacity in which he served, whether as line or field officer, he distinguished himself for a loyal, intelligent, courageous and faithful discharge of duty. In every action in which his command was engaged, he won honorable mention. He was twice wounded near Duffield's Station; whilst engaged in resisting Early's advance to enable General Sigel's wagon train to cross the Potomac at Shepherdstown, he was strock by a minnie ball which broke the small bone of the forearm; and at Cedar Creek, on the 19th of October, he was again struck by a minnie ball which would have passed through the liver had its course not been deflected by the yielding of a rib causing it to follow the rib in its course and emerge from the opposite side, thus being guided in its course and prevented from entering the cavity of the body. Colonel Hall will be remembered by his comrades in the service as long as they shall live for his personal as well his soldierly qualities. He was a brave, open-hearted, considerate and good officer.