Harris was a graduate of the United States Military Academy, but instead of a career in the military, he chose to study law.
After the breakout of the American Civil War, he joined the Union Army and was assigned to the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Soon after, he was promoted to Colonel and given command of the 11th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Harris and the regiment later took part in the Battle of Cotton Plant, where he sustained a serve wound and afterwards had to take a medical leave.
After his return, Harris was given command of brigade operations in and around St. Louis, Missouri. In 1863, he and the 11th were attached to the XIX Corps under the command of future Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nathaniel P. Banks. Harris then took part in the Battle of Port Gibson and the Red River Campaign. The 11th was re-assigned to the XVI Corps in 1864. Harris was mustered out of the volunteers on September 4, 1865. On January 13, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Harris for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 13, 1865, and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866.
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Audio File Title:
Hidden Place (Extended Version)