Brother David Smith
3rd Great Uncle
Cpl. John Morris
John Morris was born in 1832 in Watertown, Washington County, Ohio to John Morris, Sr. and Delilah (Biggins) Morris. His siblings included: William, Nancy, Tamar, twins Elza and Elwood, Harvey, and Minerva. The family was raised in Watertown. He married Rebecca Milner in 1855. He passed away in 1901.
Near the start of the Civil War, John, along with twin brothers Elza and Elwood, joined the Union efforts by volunteering for the 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His older brother William, younger brother Harvey, and brother-in-law Henry Smith (Tamar’s husband) volunteered as 100 day men in the 148th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.Cpl. Morris’ Company was at the vanguard of the Battle of Shiloh, where he fought along with two of his brothers (Elza and Elwood – twins). Cpl Morris also saw significant action in the Battle of Marks Mills where the Union supply train was overwhelmed by a superior number of Confederates waiting in ambush. After exhausting their ammunition supplies most of the remaining Union soldiers of the various regiments were taken as POWs and marched to Camp Ford, Tyler, Texas. While a Prisoner of War, John contracted scurvy and catarrah. The prisoners were poorly fed and clothed with little to no protection from the weather. Corporal Morris was later exchanged and rejoined the war effort in the capture of Mobile, Alabama. Morris’ continued service took him to Brownsville, Texas until 1866 in which he was mustered out.
Corporal Morris suffered greatly during the war. He lost his twin brothers during the war, having to bring brother Elza’s body home to their family, and seeing his brother Elwood pass away shortly after. He also lost family at home due to diphtheria. He was a prisoner of war, and suffered poor health. He missed his wife and children tremendously while he served. Yet, John continued the fight bravely for such reasons as he stated in a letter to his parents – that we should remember what our forefathers fought for founding this nation, and that the stars and stripes should fly over every state.
History of the 77th OVI
Organized in the fall of 1861, under Colonel Jesse Hildebrand, it reported to General Sherman at Paducah in February 1862. In April it participated both days in the battle of Shiloh, with heavy loss; and took part in the siege of Corinth until the evacuation when it moved westward, operating in Northern Mississippi and arriving at Memphis in July. It was ordered to Alton, Illinois in August, where it remained until July 1863, then moved to Helena, Arkansas. In January, 1864, the Regiment re-enlisted and went to Ohio on veteran furlough. In March it joined the Red River expedition and met with disaster. It took part in the capture of Mobile and then went to the Rio Grande where it served until mustered out March 8, 1866, the veterans having performed over four years of service.
From Dyer's Compendium
77th Regiment Infantry. Organized at Marietta, Ohio, September 28, 1861, to January 5, 1862. Left State for Paducah, Ky., February 17, 1862. Attached to District of Paducah, Ky., to March, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 5th Division, Army of the Tennessee, to May, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division, Army Tennessee, to July, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 5th Division, District of Memphis, Tenn., to August, 1862. Alton, Ill., to August, 1863. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Arkansas Expedition, to January, 1864. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 7th Army Corps, Dept. of Arkansas, to April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 7th Army Corps, to May, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 7th Army Corps, to February, 1865. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 13th Army Corps (New), Military Division West Mississippi, to June, 1865. Dept. of Texas, to March, 1866.
SERVICE.--Moved from Paducah, Ky., to Savannah, Tenn., March 6-10, 1862. Expedition to Yellow Creek, Miss., and occupation of Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., March 14-17. Expedition to Eastport, Miss., and Chickasaw, Ala., April 1. Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7. Corinth Road April 8. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. March to Memphis, Tenn., via LaGrange, Grand Junction and Holly Springs June 1-July 21. Duty there till August 27. Ordered to Alton, Ill., and duty there as guard of Military Prisons till July 31, 1863. Moved to Helena, Ark., July 31, thence to Duvall's Bluff August 22. Steele's Expedition to Little Rock, Ark., September 1-10. Bayou Fourche and capture of Little Rock September 10. Duty at Little Rock till September 23. Regiment reenlisted December 20, 1863, and mustered in as Veterans January 22, 1864, and moved to Columbus, Ohio. Returned to Little Rock March 1-17. Steele's Expedition to Camden March 23-May 3. Okalona April 2-3. Prairie D'Ann April 9-12. Camden April 15-18. Mark's Mills April 25, most of Regiment captured. Evacuation of Camden April 27. Jenkins' Ferry April 30. Duty in the Dept. of Arkansas till February, 1865. Regiment exchanged February, 1865, and ordered to New Orleans, La., February 9. Moved to Mobile Point, Ala., February 20. Campaign against Mobile and its defences March 17-April 12. Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely March 26-April 9. Occupation of Mobile April 12. Advance to Mt. Vernon April 13-22. Moved to Mobile May 12, thence to Texas June 1-9. Duty at Brazos Santiago and Brownsville and in the Dept. of Texas, till March, 1866. Mustered out March 8, 1866. Regiment lost during service 2 Officers and 68 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 208 Enlisted men by disease. Total 280.
John Morris Letter Home - From His Pension Files
John Morris letter sent home to his parents and his brother (most likely to Elwood who was sent home from the 77th OVI). I fixed spelling and punctuation errors so that it is easier to read. Becca that is mentioned in the letter is his wife. The Sarah that is mentioned at the end of the letter I believe is his cousin. – David Smith