From Ohio History Central
Andrew Harris wrote this letter on July 11, 1863, one week after the Battle of Gettysburg as the Union Army was trailing the retreating Confederate Army from Pennsylvania to Virginia. The letter opens by explaining the movements of the 75th OVI (Ohio Volunteer Infantry) from Emmitsburg, Maryland to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1st 1863, and the regiment's deployment with the rest of the 11th Corps into battle on the right of the First Corps. Harris notes that on the night of July 1st only 464 men out of 1200 men engaged in battle from the brigade answered roll call, with the rest killed, wounded or captured. Several of the dead from Preble County Ohio are listed by name. Harris describes being shelled by Confederate artillery for most of the 2nd of July and an infantry attack at night that ended with hand-to-hand fighting. The regiment spent the 3rd of July under constant shelling waiting for another Rebel attack that never came. On the 4th of July the Second Brigade of the 11th Corps was ordered to advance into the town of Gettysburg. Andrew Harris described that this event "was the proudest moment...that ever passed over our heads- so long use to defeat We felt sure of victory for once". Harris apologizes for his poor penmanship due to a wound received earlier in the war. He then describes being wounded again at Gettysburg on July 2nd by a sharpshooter's ball that resulted in a minor wound. He closes the letter by listing the names of several soldiers that were captured and a request to have the letter published in the Eaton Register (Eaton, Ohio). Andrew L. Harris was born November 17, 1835, in Butler County, Ohio and graduated from Miami University in 1860. In April 1861 he enlisted as a Private in the 20th O.V.I and was later commissioned as an officer in the 75th O.V.I. He saw active service in eighteen battles. At the battle of McDowell in Virginia he was seriously wounded and his right arm permanently disabled by gunshot. He was also wounded in the fighting at Gettysburg. At Chancellorsville, he was made colonel and commander. On January 15, 1865, he was mustered out. After the Civil War, Andrew Harris served in various public offices including the Ohio Senate, lieutenant governor under William McKinley and in the McKinley presidential administration. Andrew L. Harris was Ohio's forty-fourth governor from 1906-1909. The 75th OVI (Ohio Volunteer Infantry) was organized at Camp McLean, Cincinnati, Ohio and left Ohio for Grafton, Virginia. (now West Virginia.) on January 28, 1862. The unit saw action at the McDowell, Cross Keys, Cedar Mountain, Freeman's Ford, and Bull Run (all in Virginia) in1862. In 1863 the 75th sustained heavy casualties at the Battles of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The 75th OVI moved to Morris Island, South Carolina in 1863 and Jacksonville, Florida in1864. Parts of the 75th OVI were mustered out October and November 1864 with the balance of the 75th OVI mustered out July 15, 1865.
Ohio Historical Society from the Andrew L Harris Papers Collection.
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