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Confederate (CSV)


John Harris

(c. 1830 - 1874)

Home State: South Carolina

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 12th South Carolina Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

A member of the Catawba Tribe, he was living in Haywood County, NC in 1849 but married soon after and was with the tribe in the York District, South Carolina by 1858. He became Chief in 1860 on the death of Allen Harris. On 20 December 1861 he enlisted as Private, Company H, 12th South Carolina Infantry at Camp Pemberton on James Island, SC. He served, along with his brother Jim, as a Company cook prior to the Maryland Campaign.

On the Campaign

He was severely wounded in the leg and captured in action at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was treated at a field hospital and in a US Army hospital in Frederick, MD, then transferred to Fort McHenry in Baltimore on 16 May 1863. He was sent on to Fortress Monroe, VA on 11 June for exchange. He returned to his Company but was discharged in September 1864 for disability and "never recovered" from his Sharpsburg wound.

After the War

"Crippled" by his wound, he returned home as Chief of the Tribe in York County, SC. He died at about age 44 in 1874.

References & notes

His service from the Rolls,1 as John Harris (Indian). His Sharpsburg wound detail from a casualty list in the Yorkville Enquirer of 8 October 1862. His hospital and exchange information from Kirkland.2 Further details from Laurence M. Hauptman's Between Two Fires (1995), Speck & Schaffer's paper Catawba Kinship and Social Organization (1942, pdf), and Timothy Fenlon's master's thesis A Struggle for Survival and Recognition: the Catawba Nation, 1840-1860 (2007, pdf).

At least one genealogist gives him the middle name Mush or Marsh - his mother's maiden name.

He married (cousin?) Nancy ("Jinny"?) Harris (1835-1908) in 1853 and they had 5 children.

The population of the Catawba tribe in South Carolina in 1860 was 55 persons; there were 60 at the 1890 US Census.

More on the Web

His name is on a memorial in a small park in Fort Mill, SC among those of 17 (of the 19 known) Catawbas - most of the adult men of the tribe - who fought in the Confederate Army. It was erected in 1900 and his son Benjamin "Ben" Perry Harris (c. 1869-1929) spoke on that occasion [online from the HMDB].

For additional information, you can find selected parts of Ian Watson's Catawba Indian Genealogy (1995) online from Google Books.

In addition to his brother James, two other Catawbas were wounded in Maryland in 1862: Privates William Canty/Cantey and Jefferson Ayers of the 17th South Carolina Infantry.


c. 1830; Catawba Reservation, Rock Hill, SC


1874; Catawba Reservation, Rock Hill, SC


1   Thomas, John P., and and previous SC Historians of the Confederate Records, Confederate Rolls of South Carolina, Columbia: Historian of Confederate Records, 1898, Roll of Company H, 12th Reg't Inf, South Carolina Vols.  [AotW citation 24403]