Harris Farm

Harris Farm (HM1EFC)

Location: Spotsylvania, VA 22553 Spotsylvania County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 14.049', W 77° 34.208'

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Baptism of Fire

— Lee vs. Grant - The 1864 Campaign —

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 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.

(lower left) Dedication of monument, 1901 Courtesy John Cummings
(upper right) Officers, 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery Courtesy U.S. Army Military History Institute
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 26th, 2014 at 9:31pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 275050 N 4234918
Decimal Degrees38.23415000, -77.57013333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 14.049', W 77° 34.208'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 14' 2.94" N, 77° 34' 12.48" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6903 Knob Hill Ct, Spotsylvania VA 22553, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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