ECTOR'S TEXAS BRIGADE & THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE: The Battle of Stones RiverMy Great Great Great Grandfather Abraham Harris led an amazing life. He was born in 1825 in Leicestershire, England and at the tender age of 5 settled in Montgomery County, New York with his family. He joined the U.S. Army in 1847, fought in the Mexican American War and was amongst the first soldiers to construct an army outpost in North Texas, a fort near the banks of the Trinity River which would be named Ft. Worth. Abe later fought as a Confederate Soldier in the Civil War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He died in 1915 and is buried in Pioneers Rest Cemetery only a short distance from the banks of the Trinity River where he had first settled in 1849.
One of the many battles where Abe saw action was The Battle of Stones River, also known as the Battle of Murfreesboro, as part of Ector's Texas Brigade, 14th Texas Cavalry. I love the enthusiasm and personal touch that Park Ranger Jim Lewis brings to the story of this battle in the following video.
To learn more about the many battles that these Texas Confederate troops were a part of I suggest reading Ector's Texas Brigade and the Army of Tennessee, by David V. Stroud, which can be found in many Texas libraries. My GGG Grandfather Abraham Harris is also mentioned in the book and there's a dandy picture as well!
|Colonel Abe Harris|
Below is a report of the battle from Abe's commanding officer, Colonel J.L. Camp. Abe would later go on to take command of these troops after Camp was injured in a later battle.
Report of Col. J. L. Camp, Fourteenth Texas Cavalry (dismounted).
CAMP NEAR SHELBYVILLE, TENN., January 10, 1863.
In obedience to Special Orders, No.--, the following report of the battle
of Murfreesborough is respectfully submitted:
On Tuesday, the 30th ultimo, our position were assigned us in line of
battle, subject to the fire of the enemy's batteries, the one directly in
front at a distance of some 600 yards; the other on our right, but in
range at a little greater distance. The batteries opened us in the evening
and continued for some half hour a heavy fire, but without injury to my
On the morning of the 31st, orders were transmitted to me indicating a
forward movement upon our part. Having hastily prepared to execute
the order, the final order "forward" was given at about 6 a.m. The
march was made in quick time, until the enemy's line appeared, and
their batteries in full view, when the command "charge" was given, and
faithfully, nobly, and gallantly executed, upon the part of both men and
officers, putting to fight the enemy and capturing the battery, horses,
&c., immediately in front of my regiment. My command suffered
greatly in this first charge, some of whom were killed, other wounded,
among whom was my sergeant-major (Johnson), who fell among the
foremost in the charge.
The enemy from thence retreated, and attempted to reform at a distance
of some 200 or 300 yards, but the charge first ordered was not in the
least checked, and they were again repulsed, with but little loss upon
our part. Then ensued a running fight for some distance, until the enemy
were driven out of sight before us. We continued our march in quick
time in the direction indicated, and, coming in sight of the enemy in
large force formed behind some woods, skirmishers were immediately
thrown out. My regiment, by exhaustion, wounded, and, killed, had
been reduced to about 120 men. Soon the skirmishers began a brisk fire,
and the order "charge" was given, and my regiment, in connection with
the regiment on my left, advanced into the woods under the most fearful
fire of infantry, which they repulsed, and continued the charge until they
advanced in range of the cross-fires of three of the enemy's batteries,
planted at a distance of some 300 or 40 yards from us. In this
precarious condition we kept the enemy--so vastly superior in numbers,
and aided, as they were, by artillery--in check, repulsing one charge
upon us, and kept up a continued fire until ordered to fall back, which
order was executed, and we formed at a distance of half a mile. At this
juncture men were never more exposed and suffered less. Each man
acted well his part; each commanding officer of companies, as well as
field, was at his post cheering his men, and each private conducting
himself with such heroism as to inspire all around with courage.
Too much cannot be said in commendation of men who suffered with
heroic patience the galling fire of the enemy in this last charge, when
their only help visible was the small regiment on my left, reduced in
like proportion to my own, in the face of an enemy ten times their
number, supported as they were, with the large batteries.
For a report* of the killed and wounded, I refer you to report previously
J. L. CAMP,
Col., Cmdg. Fourteenth Texas Cavalry Regt.
Gen. [M. D.] ECTOR,
Cmdg. First Brigade.
Source: Official Records
PAGE 934-29 KY., MIN. AND E. TENN., N. ALA., AND SW. VA. [CHAP. XXXII.
[Series I. Vol. 20. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 29.] Civil War Records, Provo, UT.