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Item Code: L14472
This 4.50 x 3.00 inch piece of paper is signed in ink “VERY REPECTFULLY YOUR OBEDT. SERVT.- T. M. HARRIS, BRIG. GEN. MILITARY COMMISSION ROOM, WASHINGTON CITY, JUNE 16TH 1865.”
Inscription is strong and the paper is in good condition with just a small area of discoloration along one edge.
Thomas Maley Harris was born in 1817 and raised in Harrisville, Virginia, now part of West Virginia. He received his medical degree from Louisville Medical College in 1843 and returned to Virginia to practice medicine until 1861 when he closed his practice at the beginning of the Civil War.
During the war Harris commanded the 10th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry in the Shenandoah Valley and then a Brigade and Division during Philip Sheridan's Valley Campaigns of 1864. He was brevetted to Brigadier General for service at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864.
Harris was transferred to the Army of the James and took command of a Division of reinforcements from the Department of West Virginia attached to the XXIV Corps. He received a full promotion to Brigadier General in March 1865 and a brevet promotion to Major General for service at Fort Gregg on April 2, 1865. His troops were among those directly responsible for cutting off Robert E. Lee's line of retreat at Appomattox Courthouse. Following the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Harris served on the military commission which tried the Lincoln Conspirators. Following the trial General Harris authored a book about the trial in 1892 called “Assassination of Lincoln: A History of the Great Conspiracy, Trial of the Conspirators by a Military Commission, and a Review of the Trial of John H. Surratt.”
After the war Harris was elected to the West Virginia legislature and appointed Adjutant General in the state militia and the U.S. pension agent for Wheeling, West Virginia. He resumed his medical practice until his retirement in 1885. He died on September 30, 1906 and is buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Harrisville, West Virginia.
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