Which Captain Harris Died at Gettysburg?

The Harris brothers enlisted in the Nickelsville Spartan band in the late Spring of 1861. Charles W.S. Harris joined the unit as a 24 year old 2nd Lieutenant. His 20 year old brother, William P. Harris, was made 1st Corporal.

The official records indicate that Charles was commanding Company E of the 48th Virginia by August 10, 1861, and commanded it at serveral times prior to his election to Captain on April 21, 1862. The records state that he was killed in action at Gettysburg "while bravely urging his men onward in the struggle." This record of service is detailed in John Chapla's roster in his History of the 48th Virginia.

The records also state that William P. Harris was elected 2nd Lieutenant on April 21, 1862, promoted to 1st Lieutenant by September 22, 1862, and promoted to Captain by December 10, 1862. He is listed as present through April, 13, 1863. At this point, the official records fall silent.

Barbara Bishop of Kingsport, Tennessee writes that the official records are wrong according to the descendents of Charles. She states that, "Charles W.S. Harris lived to enlist in the 22nd Mounted Infantry some time after Gettysburg. He survived the second enlistment to have a son, James A. (known as A.P.) Harris, in 1866 who is shown on the 1870 Census. He applied for a pension and was approved! He is on the Scott County Pension Lists. He is buried in the Harris Cemetery in Scott Co., VA and died in 1915. According to the family, Captain William P. Harris of the 48th is the person who was KIA Gettysburg!...I spoke with the 80 year old grandson of [Charles W.P. Harris] yesterday and he confirmed this infomation."

There is other evidence that William P. Harris was the brother killed on Culp's Hill.

Hugh M. Addington's family history of the Kilgore family, Charles Kilgore of Kings Mountain, contains the following on page 116.

"Package of Letters - Letters bearing Confederate stamps written more than seventy years ago by William P. Harris to Drusilla McConnell, are in possession of Mattie E. Addington. Time-worn yet filled with sentimens of friendship and affection. He was killed on the battlefield of Gettysburg, and Drusilla died before the war was over."

McConnell family lore infers that Drusilla died of a broken heart.

Lt. Colonel Robert H. Dungan commanded the 48th during that evening assault of Culp's Hill. The pertinent part of his June 10 report of that action is shown here as it appears in the O.R. - The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.

"Of my officers, Captains [J.M] Vermillion and [C.W.S.] Harris both fell, dead, while bravely urging theri men onward in the struggle."

When were the brackets [] added?