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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Spotsylvania in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Harris Farm

Baptism of Fire

 

—Lee vs. Grant - The 1864 Campaign —

 
Harris Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
1. Harris Farm Marker
Inscription. Organized in January 1862, the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery spent most of its first two years of service in the defenses of Washington, D.C. Trained as artillerists, the regiment manned the large-caliber cannons in the forts that protected the capital. As Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s casualty numbers mounted in the first two weeks of May 1864, however, the 1st Massachusetts “Heavies,” along with other commands, marched south to reinforce the Union army around Spotsylvania Court House. The regiment reached the army on May 18.

When Confederate Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s command advanced toward the Fredericksburg Road the next day, the Heavies went into action as infantry. The regiment deployed near the Harris House behind you. As if on parade, its lines swept forward. The Bay Staters revealed their lack of experience but “fought confounded plucky.” After four hours, the 1st Massachusetts still held its ground, and Ewell withdrew from the field. In the darkness, the Harris Farm was littered with dead, dying, and wounded. Of the 1,617 Heavies in the fight, 398 fell, almost 25 percent casualties – an appalling loss.

Before the war ended, the 1st Massachusetts participated in many more battles, but the Harris Farm was its baptism of fire. On May 19, 1901, surviving Heavies returned here
Harris Farm Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
2. Harris Farm Markers
to the Harris Farm and dedicated the monument that stands in front of you to commemorate their own deeds and those of their fallen comrades.

(captions)
(lower left) Dedication of monument, 1901 Courtesy John Cummings
(upper right) Officers, 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Courtesy U.S. Army Military History Institute
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 14.049′ N, 77° 34.208′ W. Marker is in Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of South Harris Farm Road and Pond View Lane, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Harris Farm (here, next to this marker); Seeing the Elephant (here, next to this marker); First Regiment Heavy Artillery (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Harris Farm (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Engagement at Harris Farm (Bloomsbury)
1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Monument image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
3. 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Monument
(approx. half a mile away); Landram Farm (approx. 1.3 miles away); Landram House (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named The Landram House (approx. 1.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Spotsylvania.
 
Also see . . .
1. Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced an older one at this location titled “Seeing the Elephant” (Submitted on May 16, 2014.) 

2. Central Virginia Battlefield Trust. (Submitted on May 16, 2014.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 320 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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