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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Spotsylvania Courthouse 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.
Photographed 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
Harris Farm Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
2. Harris Farm Markers
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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 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.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1862.
 
Location. 38° 14.049′ N, 77° 34.208′ W. Marker is in Spotsylvania Courthouse, 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. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7103 Monument Ct, Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
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); The Battle of Harris Farm (here, next to this marker); First Regiment Heavy Artillery (a few steps
1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Monument image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
3. 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Monument
from this marker); Pvt. James Z. Branscomb, CSA (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Harris Farm (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Engagement at Harris Farm (Bloomsbury) (approx. half a mile away); Landram Farm (approx. 1.3 miles away); Landram House (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania Courthouse.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Old Marker At This Location titled "Seeing the Elephant".
 
Also see . . .  Central Virginia Battlefield Trust. (Submitted on May 16, 2014.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 15, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 562 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on May 15, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.   2, 3. submitted on May 16, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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May. 21, 2022