Harris enlisted in the 4th U.S. Cavalry prior to the Civil War; promoted to 1st Lt. 1st U.S. Cavalry, and awarded the MOH at Smithfield, Va, in 1864. Later served on the Frontier in Washington, Arizona, Montana.
1st Cavalry Officer’s Map Case – Medal of Honor Recipient 1st Lt. Moses Harris. The khaki cotton interior is stenciled with Harris’s name and rank “1 LT. MOSES HARRIS / 1ST U.S. CAV.” The roll-up map case is made of pigskin on the outside, incorporating a handle, and a single buckle that works with a single strap to hold together when rolled. The outside leather shows wear along the edges, being pushing in while carrying either in a haversack or some other piece. The strap is in rough shape; could be repaired as it appears that most of the leather remains but for a few inches off the end.
14 3/4 inches wide, and same high, but slightly rounded at top.
There is some copy research material with the map case from the Archives; all relating to Harris receiving the new Pattern Medal of Honor, with knot & ribbon. Copy of a letter from Harris to the Adjutant General asking if he has to turn in his “old” pattern medal to receive the newer one, etc.
Moses Harris, originally from Andover, New Hampshire, enlisted at Boston, as a private into Company “G” 4th U.S. Cavalry on March 19. 1857, and was discharged for promotion to 2nd Lt. in the 1st U.S. Cavalry on May 18, 11864. He had risen through the ranks from private to corporal, and sergeant, prior to his promotion and transfer to the 1st Cavalry. He was breveted captain in Sept of 1864 for gallant and meritorious service at the battle of Winchester, Va.
As a 1st Lieutenant, the action date of the award was the result of his action at Smithfield, Virginia on August 28, 1864. His citation reads, “In an attack upon a largely superior force, his personal gallantry was so conspicuous as to inspire the men to extraordinary efforts, resulting in complete rout of the enemy.” The date of issue was November 23, 1896.
After the Civil War, Harris remained with the 1st Cavalry, making the rank of captain in 1872, and in 1892, he was promoted to major and transferred to the 8th U.S. Cavalry. He retired in March of 1893. He was buried at the U.S. Military Academy Cemetery, West Point, New York.
After the war, the 1st Cavalry was posted to the Northwest, and then after transferred to Arizona in September of 1869. Harris then had command of Troop “M,” at Camp Grant, Camp Goodwin in 1870, Camp Ord (later renamed Fort Apache), in 1871. Now a captain, he was assigned to Fort Walla Walla, Washington. Took part in the Bannock campaign in 1878. From October of 1881 to January o 1882, Harris was stationed at Forts Huachuca, and Bowie, Arizona. In 1884 he went to Fort Custer, Montana, Territory and to Yellowstone Park, there to establish Camp Sheridan. Harris’ promotion to major had him assigned to the 8th Cavalry, in 1892, but did not join the regiment due to his wife’s poor health. He requested retirement the following year. He died in 1927, and buried at Rochester, New York.
Harris was a considered one of the best read officer’s in the Army, writing many articles for the Cavalry Journal. He was an excellent marksman, proficient with rifle and revolver, and an excellent horseman. Also known to be a strict, but quiet disciplinarian, keeping his men in a high state of efficiency.
(ref. Cavalry Yellow & Infantry Blue, Army Officers In Arizona Between 1851 and 1886, Constance W. Altshuler, AHS 1991.)