Erastus L. Harris


Born: Abt 1831 in Collins, Erie County, New York, USA

Died: ? in (unknown)

Father: Esek Harris (? – ?)

Mother: Susanna ? (? – ?)

Family #1

Spouse/Partner: Emily A. Smith (1841 – ?)

Married: Feb 1863 in ?

Child: Howard L. Harris (1864 – )

Child: Earl W. Harris (1868 – )

Child: Alice Harris (1871 – )

Child: Mary Harris (1873 – )

Child: Gilbert P. Harris (1875 – )


Erastus lived in Collins (Erie County, NY) until 1854 when he left for California to work as a miner for about 3 years, returning to Collins in the Autumn of 1857.

A year later he went to Iowa, where he engaged in farming until the outbreak of the Civil War. He returned to Collins and was mustered into service on 8 Aug 1861. He was assigned to the 44th New York Volunteers on or soon after its formation on 30 Aug 1861.

The 44th was also known as the Ellsworth Regiment, Ellsworth Avengers or The People's Ellsworth Regiment, and was created to honor and avenge the murder of Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth, generally considered to be the first casualty of the American Civil War.

The regiment joined the Army of the Potomac under General McClellan in Nov 1861. While in this regiment he was promoted to Corporal and then Sergeant. He participated in all of the battles in which the regiment engaged, including the Siege of Yorktown, and the battles of Hanover Court House, Malvern Hill, second Bull Run, Antietam, Shepardstown Ford, Fredericksburg, Chancelorsville, Middletown, and Gettysburg. At the end of the Battle of Malvern Hill, he was the only officer in his company who was not killed or injured, and was in command of the company for a short time afterwards. He was mentioned for his meritorious conduct in the battle by General Daniel Butterfield.

In 1863 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the 9th U.S. Colored Troops, and promoted to First Lieutenant in Spring 1865. At the close of the war, he resigned at this rank in Aug 1865. In his time with the Colored Troops, he was engaged in numerous battles, including the Siege of Petersburg, and the Occupation of Richmond, where his regiment was among the first to enter after the city was surrendered.

At the close of the war he returned to Collins to take up family life with Emily (whom he had married in 1863).

Change Date

This data was last changed on 26 Sep 2007, and is stored in datafile B.

Primary and Secondary Sources

(see About Sources)

1880 U.S. Federal Census (Population Schedule)
National Archives and Records Administration. [applies to name, birth]
History of the original town of Concord
by Erasmus Briggs; Rochester, N.Y.; Union and Advertiser Company's Print; 1883. Subtitle: "Being the present towns of Concord, Collins, N. Collins and Sardinia, Erie County, New York" [applies to name, birth, death, marriage, notes]
Private (Family Register, Gilbert P. Smith)
[applies to name, marriage]

Research Notes (source comments, unreliable information)

Erastus was probably born 4 Jan 1831. The date given in the "History of the Original Town of Concord" was 4 Jan 1871. The year is obviously a misprint, and is about 1831 in the 1880 census.