A family name, fondly used most often by calling him "Baby Harry", was my great uncle. Harrison was also the name of my GG Grandfather. Both fought in wars for our American freedom, the first shot down over Germany in WWII and the later in the Civil War. It is this later Harrison I will share info on.
Harrison Henry Davis - son of [Charles] Elbridge and Julianna [Dunton] Davis- was born in 1839 in the little town of Liberty, Maine in Waldo County. Per the US Census in 1860 he was living with his parents and siblings, working on the farm. In the family genealogy book my father and cousin Royce wrote they stated that he had the honor of shaking President Lincoln's hand. That got my research into high gear. There is a wonderful site - Civil War Trust at CivilWar.org where much of my research took place
In 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army 14 Dec joining the Maine 1st Battalion, 2nd Light Artillery Battery. I sent off to the National Archives for his Civil War records - they sent me a CD of them, including his discharge for disability. Organized in Augusta and headed to Portland and Fort Preble -10 March 1861. They were stationed there until 1 Apr when they headed to Washington, DC. By the beginning of June they were in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia skirmishing with the confederates under Stonewall Jackson and eventually they ended up in the Battle of Cedar Mountain. The Union troops there were outnumbered 2 to 1 and it is the first battle where Clara Barton was officially allowed to care for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. The federals attacked first and a two hour artillery barrage ensued on the 98 degree day. Harrison's wartime experience was not going to get easier.
Following this first action, his unit spent much time battling Jackson's Confederates through Virginia along the Rappahanock River. Eventually they wound up in the Battles at Groveton and Bull Run [known as the 2nd Manassas] before they got a break and worked defending Washington DC.
From tha point on it was a build up to some very difficult time for his unit. They helped guard the railroad lines south of DC and camped at a place called "Brooks Station" It took me lots of reading letters to figure out that this referred to a place and the only railroad crossing to Fredericksburg and Richmond - Potomac Creek Bridge. But this also meant that his unit would be right in the middle of two horrific events - the Battle of Fredericksburg and the infamous Mud March in January 1863. They finally got a two month reprieve [mid winter] in Fletcher's Chapel, VA.
The rest would be needed as they then had to begin the Chancellorsville Campaign. Chancellorville Campaign really explains what occurred there and how. After yet another horrific loss it seems that they get a month long respit, which they will need. For on the 1st of July they are engaged and play a pivotal role in the Battle of Gettysburg. There is a monument erected in their honor on those hallowed grounds and the following artwork depicts their efforts.
I wonder where it was that Harrison shook the hand of Pres Lincoln? He had reviewed the troops while Harrison was in Camp there before Gettysburg. Or was it at Gettysburg? Perhaps while in the hospital at Camp Berry in Washing ton before his discharge 4 March 1864?? Perhaps I will never know exactly. His units flag is at the State Capital in Augusta Maine. Harrison lost two brothers in battles in the Civil War - Charles and William - likely both fought at Port Hudson in Louisiana without knowing it.
I do wish I had known all of this when I lived in Arlington Virginia. And I went to Fredericksburg when I did an internship in college - saw the Civil War cannonball still embedded in the upper section of a house [yes, on the side the union was firing]. I had no idea then that my GG Grandfather was there 120 years earlier firing them.
|Harrison Henry Davis 1839-1913|