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Collection Title: Harris (Merry B.) Papers

Collection Number: M210

Dates: December 1860-January 1862

Volume: 7 items

Provenance: Donated by Mrs. Harold Mosby, great grand-daughter of Harris, in May 1986 and February 1993.

Copyright: These papers may be protected from unauthorized copying by the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

Captain Merry B. Harris and his wife, the former Sarah C. Allen, were early inhabitants of Gallatin, Mississippi, county seat for Copiah County from 1824-1872. Harris was a lawyer in the county until the Civil War. He joined the Confederate Army as captain of "The Pettus Relief" Volunteers, Company D, 12th Mississippi Infantry, and was mustered into service at Hazlehurst, March 11, 1861. Harris was wounded twice, the first time in a battle near Chancellorsville in December 1862, and the second near Petersburg on June 25, 1864, when he was shot in the head by a sharpshooter. He returned home on furlough and died there on December 25, 1864. During his military career he was promoted to colonel.

Scope and Content:

This collection consists of five letters, a bond, and an issue of the Rules and Regulations for the Government of "The Pettus Relief" Company of Volunteers.

The first letter is dated December 22, 1860, from W. E. Wormell in Aiken, South Carolina, to Merry B. Harris in Gallatin, Mississippi. Mr. Wormell describes the festivities celebrating the secession of South Carolina from the Union. He states that Carolinians' attitudes are more intense than Mississippians or Tennesseans, but expresses his belief that those people will prove no less patriotic "in supporting the right".

A bond dated January 29, 1861, and signed by Captain Merry B. Harris in the amount of $900 is for the purchase of 60 muskets.

The second letter is dated April 18, 1861, and is an order from W.H. Brown

in Jackson, headquarters of the Army of Mississippi, to Captain M. B. Harris, to proceed to Westville, Simpson County, Mississippi, to muster in the Westville Guards and to report immediately back to him.

The third letter is from Julia Thompson Chrisman in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, to Captain M.B. Harris, dated May 3, 1861, asking Harris to accept "this simple gift" in token of her appreciation for his service in his country's defense.

The fourth letter is an undated letter from the "Copiah County Military Aid Society" (Mrs. S. J. Morehead, President and Mollie Brown, secretary), to Captain M.B. Harris. It is sent via a Mr. Johnston, along with various clothing articles for use by his company. A promise is made to send more necessities as they are needed.

The fifth letter is dated January 14, 1862, and is to President Jefferson Davis from W.H. Brown, Madison MaAfee, and A.B. Dilworth recommending Harris to Davis, and expressing Harris' desire to raise a volunteer regiment.

The final item is an undated, handwritten "Rules and Regulations for the Government of 'The Pettus Relief' Co. of Volunteers". It contains 15 articles dealing with the organization of the company, election of officers, procedural questions, and responsibilities of members. The 15th article states that the rules and regulations may be challenged and amended at regular meetings.


Accession Number: AM04-51

Provenance: Mrs. Harold Mosby

Given By: Computer-scanned image made from an original tintype owned by Mrs. Stanley Mosby

Volume: 1 item

Dates: ca. 1860s

Form of Material:

One 4" x 6" color-enhanced computer scanned image of Captain Merry B. Harris in his Confederate Army uniform.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: December 14, 2004