Faces of the Sixth-Private Henry Speck Harris Company B

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The following photographs and information are original members of the “Bloody Sixth”. I am honored to include their stories and images here. If you would like to share a story or photo about your 6th NCST ancestor, please leave a comment and I will be in touch.

Private Henry Speck Harris
Company B


Image from a tintype. Collection 9. Neg. 100-54. UNC Collection
Photo Source: http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/dig_nccpa/id/5195/rec/7


Resided in : Granville County
Prior Occupation: Farmer
Enlisted: May 1, 1861, for the war
Where: Orange County
Age at enlistment: 22
Killed in Action: May 20, 1862
Buried: on the battlefield, unknown

Henry Speck Harris appears in the 1850 Federal Census living in the 1st district of the county of Orange. His father, Marcus, a 40 year old farmer and his mother, Louena, age 35, have 5 children living in their household.  Robert (16),  Archibald (14), Henry (12), Emeline(10) and Nathaniel (8). [1] I have been unable to locate a suitable match for him in the 1860 Census.

Henry Speck Harris was born at Bahama, N.C. on February 12, 1837.[2]

He Resided in Granville County and enlisted in Orange County at age 22, May 1, 1861, for the war. His Compiled Service record show him listed as “Present”  from the date of his enlistment on May 1, 1861 through  May 31, 1862 when he is listed as “Killed at Seven Pines, Virginia, May 31,1862.” [3][4]

The Chaplain of the regiment, K. Y. Stewart, D.D., wrote to the Raleigh Standard about the valor of the regiment and hardship they faced at the battle of Seven Pines, commending the conduct of the 6th N.C. Regiment:

“They stormed the enemy’s lines through an open field and exposed to a rapid fire from the works where they were posted. They charged and drove them from their camps—they ran them for a mile—they then twice charged their

masked works, wading through swamps up to the waist and that under a destructive fire until the approach of night and the absence of artillery, combined with the numbers of the enemy and strength of the works satisfied every one that nothing more could be done.”

1st Lt. B.R. Smith, Adjutant, 6th N.C.T. furnished a report to the newspaper and stated in a note to the editor [5]:

“The regiment was in advance and drove the enemy before them for a mile and a half, capturing their camps with large supplies and valuable property when they were met by large bodies of Federals entrenched with masked batteries. It was in charging these batteries twice that the chief losses were sustained.”

Total casualties for the battle below Richmond for the 6th NCST were

Killed- 11; Wounded-88; Missing-15; Aggregate loss-114 [6]

In this report H. S. Harris is listed as missing. Having fallen during the battle it is unclear if his body was ever recovered. His final resting place is unknown. His parents are buried at the Mount Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery,  located in Mangum Township (North Carolina) across from church at intersection of Bahama Road (SR 1616) and Quail Roost Road (SR 1615).

He was a member of the Flat River Guard (FRG on hat), which became Company B, Sixth North Carolina State Troops.

Source Notes:

1) Harris in the 1850 United States Federal Census; Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Orange, North Carolina; Roll: M432_639; Page: 255A; Image: 505, Reviewed by Researcher Frederick Walton on 7/13/2016 on Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

2) Harris Family Bible – Flat River, Orange County, NC; Author: Marcus Harris; Note: Marcus Harris, Salesman for American Bible Society Rainey M. Harris (Apr. 1991) discovered on Ancestry.com Harris Family Tree

3) Jordon, “North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865

4) The National Archives Publication Number: M270; Publication Title: Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina; National Archives Catalog ID: 586957; National Archives Catalog Title: Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations , compiled 1903 – 1927, documenting the period 1861 – 1865; Record Group: 109;Roll: 0161; Military Unit: Sixth Infantry, North Carolina; Harris, Henry S..

5) Both the Chaplain’s letter and the Adjutant’s report can be found in the newspaper- North Carolina Standard; Raleigh; June 18, 1862

6} The Richmond Daily Dispatch: June 9, 1862.

Additional information or photos would be welcomed to complete 
the record of this honorable soldier. 

Soldier Letter from Batchelor’s Creek

John Walker to Mother letter dated February 7, 1864
Walker Papers,Duke University Archives
Copyright (C) 2016 Transcribed by Frederick E. Walton February 17, 2016

18640207 letter John Walker to mother-1
Camp near Kinston, N. C. [1]
February the 7th [1864]
Dear Mother,
I seat myself this morning to let you know where I am and where how I am. I am well with the exception of a bad cold and in camp near Kinston, N. C. but how long we will stay here I don’t know. We just got back from Newbern [2] Thursday. We left the Rapidan Va. the 20th Jan and have been marching and roaming about ever since. We left here Saturday the 30th of Jan and marched on Newbern for the purpose of attacking it and taking it by storm. but for some cause or other for not taking the place I don’t know. Our Brigade had a fierce engagement at Jumping River [4], but succeeded in routing them and driving them on into town. Capturing most of them. but lost but two men[5] in our Regt mortally wounded. Our Brigade done all the fighting that was done. It has been reported in camp ever since we left Va.that our Brigade was going to Salisbury. but I think it doubtful myself but we have orders to leave tomorrow. Some say to go up the Road I dont know, whether it is or not, I hope so. We captured on this raid the rise of 400 prisoners 2 pieces of Artillary 40 horses 300 small arms and equipments some few negros an amount of commisary and quartermaster stores clothing &c. [6] I am going to send some things to Mebanesville by Mr. Wilson and you must send after them. don’t send me anything more until I write for them. I will send my coat and pants back because they dont fit at all. I shall write no more this time J. K. W.

Transcribers comment: This note is written on both sides of a scrap of paper. It is written in ink, in a fairly neat and legible hand, although the ink bleeds through the paper. Walker says “I seat myself this morning…” Because of the steady hand and flourishes in the letters, I picture the writer sitting at a table somewhere with the ease to leisurely write, vs sitting around a campfire with a board balanced on his knee.


1)  John K. Walker was a member of Co. K, 6th North Carolina State Troops, who were members of Hoke’s Brigade. The Compiled Service records show their movements as Follow: “Marched from Raccoon ford to Gordonsville Virginia January 21, 1864. Took the cars at that place January 22 arrived at Garysburg, N. C. January 24 and remained there about six days. Took the cars at that point for Kinston. Marched to Newbern. Participated in the engagement of Bachelors Creek 1st February 1864. returned to Kinston February 4, 1864. Whole distance traveled about 300 miles.”

2) New Bern, North Carolina. The Colonial Capitol of North Carolina that had been under Federal Occupation since the March 1862 Battle of New Bern. The reason Walker was here in 1864 was to recapture this Carolina Port and it’s supplies to support the Army of Northern Va in the upcoming Campaign.

3) Thursday, February 4, 1864

4)  Jumping Run branches off of Bachelors creek and crosses the Neuse road about 2 miles north of the place where Bachelors creek crosses the road. This is approximately where the Federal Outpost would have been located in advance of the Blockhouse protecting the Batchelor’s creek crossing.

5) A search of the 6th North Carolina Roster has been unsuccessful in identifying two mortally wounded soldiers at the time of this battle.

6) General Pickett reported the following in his official report of the incident: “The result may be summed up as follows, viz.: Killed and wounded, about one hundred; captured thirteen officers, two hundred and eighty-four privates, fourteen negroes, two rifle pieces and caissons, three hundred stand of small arms, four ambulances, three wagons, one hundred and three animals, a quantity of clothing and garrison equipage, and two flags.”