Major Louis M. Morris Collection -Sold

This is a grouping of material relating to the career of a Civil War veteran, and U.S. army officer on the Northern Plains during the early Indian Wars; including, photographs, paper, sword, epaulettes, etc.


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Louis McLane Morris was born in Delaware, June 9, 1837. I have not pulled records from the archives and use only collected data available to me on the web, or my references.

He enlisted in the  4th New Jersey Infantry, Co. “C” on 4/27/1861 and mustered out in July of that year. On September 9, 1861, Morris was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant of Co. “G,” 6th NJ Inf., and would attain the rank of captain in November of 1862.  At the conclusion of term of service in October of 1864. the veteran battalion of the 6th NJ was consolidated with the 8th New Jersey Infantry, with Morris transferring to Co. “E.” His last unit mustered out of service, and Morris promoted to major, on June 17, 1865.

During his service in the Civil War, I have determined that Captain Morris was wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 7, 1863. Again during the Petersburg Campaign, after the commanding officer of the 6th NJ was wounded, Morris took command and he himself was wounded on May 12th during that engagement.  The wounds received at Chancellorsville must not have been to debilitating as according to family research (found on Find A Grave Memorial) he was present with his company at Gettysburg, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania, etc., as well as many other battles and skirmishes.   To further substantiate, within the “General Orders No. 1, HQs. 20th Infantry (U.S.), April 14, 1877,”  which in essence was a memorial to him after his death, states he was wounded at Williamsburg, Va., on May 5, 1862.

On July 28, 1866, Louis Morris was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Co. “E,” 20th U.S. Infantry, the regiment having been formed in Richmond, Va. Shortly after, the regiment was transferred to the Department of the Gulf and its companies performed Reconstruction duties in Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas until it was again transferred, this time to the Department of Dakota, under the command of Colonel (Bvt. Major General) George Sykes.

Headquarters, Co. E and the Band of the regiment were at Fort Snelling, Minn., however the various companies of the regiment were stationed in Minnesota, but mostly on the frontier, some of the most inaccessible and isolated locations in the west.  When you were stationed there, soldiers and civilians alike referred to home as “The States,” leaving one with the impression they were indeed a far piece from civilization.

Throughout the 1870s, the 20th Infantry performed its job of policing the plains, providing escort duties for Northern Pacific RR surveying crews, in part played a roll during Custer’s Black Hills Expedition, and others of less importance. What exact roll Morris played I do not know, except the fact that when he died on April 7, 1877 he was stationed at the Lower Brule Indian Agency (Fort Hale, est.1870). His cause of death was determined as Congested Apoplexy and Strangulation. (A coma due to a sudden disturbance of the blood circulation in the brain, combined with a sudden failure of the heart’s action that can be brought about by narcotic, alcoholic poisoning, or simple by sun stroke, or head injury, etc.).

It might yield more having pension records, but going further with only what I know, I have to assume that the riggers of western life on the plains, the heat especially at times, combined with the hard service he had already rendered during the Civil War, were all contributing factors that we do know.  Morris was 24 years old when he commissioned in 1861, and may have been married at the time or sometime during the war to Lydia Higbee (Morrestown?). I know that Mrs. Morris accompanied her husband west at some point. She was present with him at Lower Brule Agency. They had two children, the youngest Jenny, was born in Minnesota on Dec.12, 1871. From what I can gather, I would believe his death was more accidental due to physical condition rather than substance abuse.

On July 9, 1877, after a short internment at Ft. Hale Post Cemetery (Lower Brule Agency), at the request of Mrs. Morris, the transfer of remains of 1st Lieutenant Morris were transported to Philadelphia (probably the Qmtr. Depot) for re-burial at Trinity Episcopal Churchyard, Moorestown, NJ.


The collection consists of mostly of photographs, and some documents, etc.; also Captain Morris’s 1850 foot officer’s sword which he used during the Civil War up to 1872,

1. CDV,  Captain Louis M. Morris; photographed by J. Cremer & Co., Philadelphia, with canceled  3 cent Proprietary Revenue stamp. Morris is wearing a frock coat with velvet lined collar that he has rolled over. Some soiling.

2. CDV,  Brevet Brigadier General Timothy Cummings Moore, in civilian dress; photographed by W.L. Germon’s, Philadelphia. Lower corners clipped, light handling.  Moore was a 2nd Lt. in the 4th NJ, April to July, 1861; commissioned into “K” Co., 6th NJ, Sept, 1861-resigned for disability Jan. 1, 1863; had service with both the NJ 1st Militia Infantry as Lt. Col. and Colonel of 34th NJ Infantry, mustering out April 30, 1866.  Brevet Brigadier General, Nov, 11, 1865 for services during the war.

3. CDV,  Lt. Col. Charles Ewing, wearing a frock coat of a field grade officer;  commissioned into Co. “A” 3rd NJ Inf on April 23, 1861 as a 2nd Lt.;  Commissioned into 6th NJ Sept, 1861 and was discharged for promotion (Jan, 1863), and again commissioned as Major, later Lt.Col. 4th NJ Inf. and discharged on March 16, 1865.  Photographed at W.L. Germon’s, Philadelphia, lower clipped corners, light handling.

4. CDV,  Lieutenant Joseph R. West;  in frock coat with his forage cap beside him, signed on the mount in his hand, photographed by Broadbent & Co., Philadelphia. Clipped corners and light handling.  West enlisted as a sergeant on Aug. 19, 1861 into Co. “A” 6th NJ Infantry, and mustered out on Sept. 7, 1864.  He had promotions to 2nd and 1st Lieutenant, and Captain (just prior to Gettysburg).

5. CDV,  Sergeant Major Carl Moser, in civilian dress, Identified on the back, may or may not be his signature.  He enlisted on Sept. 10, 1861 as a private in the 8th NJ infantry as a substitute in Co. “A.” Mustered out on June 4, 1865.  Moser was appointed Corporal in Sept. of 1864, and Sgt. Major on June 17, 1865. Clipped corners and light handling.  Photographed by Julius Brill, New York, with cancelled 2 cent Playing Card Revenue stamp.

6. CDV,  Unidentified company grade officer from the album of Louis Morris.  Clipped corners and light handling. Photographer is Bogardus, New York.  This officer is most likely 6th or 8th New Jersey Infantry.

7. CDV,  Brigadier General Frank E. Patterson, commander of the 2nd Division, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Corps consisting of several regiments of NJ Volunteers, including the 6th NJ.  This is an enhanced photo, from an original photo, by P. F. Cooper, Philadelphia. Has the same clipped corners and a bad bend that does effect the image.

8. CDV,  Unidentified Major or Lt. Col. of Staff, came with the Morris album and was in the back.  Photographed by Morgan & Kenyon, New London, CT. with 3 cent Proprietary Revenue stamp. A wartime acquaintance or fellow officer, either would apply. Condition is very good.

9. Manual, “RULES For The MANAGEMENT AND CLEANING of the RIFLE MUSKET, MODEL 1863…” Washington, GPO, 1863. Although a Civil War period generated manual, could also have been used in the early part of the Indian Wars, in use with the 20th Infantry until the later 1860s.  I believe the 6th NJ had Enfield Rifled Muskets, but the 8th may have had the 63 Springfield.  A decent copy, without the light blue thin paper wraps, and a torn section on the upper edge on title page, title page has separated form the manual,  some roughness on edges, and showing typical use.  A good representative copy showing the nomenclature of the musket, well illustrated.

10.  Original period copy of the After Action Report for Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and before Petersburg battles cover the periods of May 5, through June 30, 1864. This is a seven page manuscript report describing the action of the 6th New Jersey, for nearly a two month period where the regiment was actively engaged against the enemy.

Captains Morris is mentioned several times in this report; Capt. West (CDV of him) mentioned as well.  I will photograph sections with content to save time here.

On the top of the document is a notation, “Please return if not necessary to be placed on file to Mrs. L.M.Morris, 260 East Street, Moorestown, Burlington County, New Jersey.”  I don’t know when this was sent to Mrs. Morris or for what reason, but the report appears to be of Civil War vintage.  The embossed corners on the stationary looks just like others I have seen over the years, that being a small oval stamp with the image of the U.S. Capital Building in the center. The document is (signed) by S.R. Gilkyson, Lt. Col. commanding the regt. and forwarded to J.W. Rushing, AAA Gen. 3 Brigade, 3rd Div. 2nd Corps. Very good condition, and a super after action report.

11.  Captain Morris’s 1850 Foot Officers Sword marked on the blade, W.H. Horstmann & Son, Philadelphia. Both sides of the 30 1/2 inch blade have etches panoply of arms, florals and vines, “U.S.” and Eagle. The blade has little of the frosty etching on the blade, figures on the blade show some brightness and polishing from cleaning. The brass mounts when found were dark and crusty brown, the blade was nearly lifeless, and the leather scabbard had been wrapped in old double strand cable wire (leaving a light indentation on the leather finish which under close viewing is visible, but does not detract from the sword; and there is some shrinkage to the leather and does not fit flush with the hilt, but the drag may be placed too high. All brass mounting, hilt, etc., were cleaned and only in a few weeks are already redeveloping a light patina. I normally hate to touch items and sell them alone, even if only requiring the lightest work; but in this case the sword was to far gone, yet the collection had merit.  I left the underside of the hilt only slightly cleaned to show the condition originally.   The screw in the drag is an old replacement.  The grip wire on the hilt is a fine quality cooper wrap, with one stress point, but repaired as well.

The sword is a very good condition, more than representable sword with a great Civil War and early Indian Wars history. The sword was well used in the war, having been in the hands of an officer commissioned in three regiments, involved in some of the most important battles of the war including;  Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, 2nd Bull Run, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, the Petersburg Campaign.

12.  Small cabinet photo, unmounted, of Captain Morris taken during the 1872-77 period, wearing the new 1872 pattern dress shoulder knots. The back has an identification by a later family member, “Captain L.M. Morris, husband of Lydia Higbee. Known as Aunt Lil.” The image is a bit light, could be one of his last.

13. Cabinet photo of fellow officer Lt. Frank Xavier Kinzie, wearing his ’72 fatigue blouse, kepi with 20th Infantry crossed rifles insignia (1875 on), and holding a riding crop.  Kinzie entered the army from Illinois, in 1874 as a 2nd Lieutenant, and resigned his commission Jan. 1, 1879. There is an note made on the mount below the photo, “Lieut. Kinzie (they spelled it using an “s” for “z”) of “Ours.” Very good condition, no photographer back mark.

14.  Cabinet photo of Captain James A. Haugley  of the 21st Infantry. This image was made by J. Landy of Cincinnati, wearing his full dress coat, and sporting a moustache  similar to the 7th Cavalry’s Adjutant, W.W. Cooke. Morris and Haugley may have met in Richmond, as these two regiments were formed there just after the war; or they could have met up in the Plains when the 21st Infantry came to the Northern Plains.  I would assume the later. Very good condition.

15.  Cabinet photo of Captain James Brattle Burbank, 3rd U.S. Artillery, wearing his full dress uniform, taken by J. Landy of Cincinnati (curious that he and Haugley were photographed by the same photographer from Cincinnati). Burbank was an Bvt. Major in the 20th Connecticut Infantry during the war,  Enlisted in 1864 as a private, soon after sergeant in the 3rd Artillery and remained in the 3rd until his promotion to captain in the 1880s thence transferred to the 5th Infantry. He retired shortly after the turn of the century as a brigadier general.

16. Army & Navy Club visitors card issued to Morris via a James S. Wharton, allowing Morris admission in the New York City club for a two week period. The date of this card, with envelope is Sept. 25, 1874. Signed by W. S. Mitchell.

17. Cabinet photo circa 1872-77 of Fort Hale or Lower Brule Indian Agency. The photo is 6×8, mounted, and the way the upper corners are clipped, I would assume that this image was once framed, (probably removed for packing purposes). The scene are the officers quarters on the post, with officers, men and families etc., all about. Looks to be taken in the spring or fall. Period ink denotes the occupants of the various quarters.  Captain Morris (and I assume family, shared this building with 3rd Artillery Major Gustavus Adolphus, a veteran of the Mexican War, Brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers during the war, and retired as a full colonel in 1882.

The post was established in June of 1867 on the Missouri River, near present day Chamberlain, South Dakota. At some point the fort was simply referred to as the Lower Brule Indian Agency (it is identified as such on the image mount, referred to in a letter to the Mrs. in this collection, and in the 1876 “Outline of Posts In The Division of the Missouri,” it is referred to as the agency. It was a small post of 13 buildings as of 1876; the three officers quarters shown in the photograph are by themselves on the west side of the central parade ground. The central doors open up into a long hallway separating the two quarters under the one roof. (included is a photo of the post lay-out).

The agency was 80 miles above Fort Randall, the nearest post office was 150 miles distant at Crow Creek Agency, DT. The nearest town of any importance was 132 miles away at Springfield, DT. At the time of printing the Outline of Posts, the main band of Indians were the Lower Brule Lakota (Sioux), a people of two hundred and fifty lodges with an average of 6 persons a lodge. The estimated number of warriors numbered near to 500 men.

The image show wear, soiling and some light roughness on the edges, the mount is missing a corner. The image however clearly shows the scene of the officers quarters and all the goings-on about them.  A rare image, of a small, remote military post on the western frontier just after the Civil War.

18.  Created on heavy lined paper, obviously supplied by the quartermaster, this document with fancy inked borders, served as a eulogy to Captain Morris shortly after his death:

“Headquarters 20th Infantry                                                                                                                                                      Fort Snelling, Minn.

April 14, 1877

General Orders                                                                                                                                                                          No,  1.

With profound regret the Colonel commanding announces to the regiment                                        the  death of one of its most  valued officers,   First  Lieutenant  Louis  M.  Morris,  who died                                        suddenly at Lower Brule Agency, D.T.  April 7, 1877.

Lieutenant Morris was among the first to volunteer his services at the beginning of the Civi War                                    having  entered  as 1st Lieutenant in the  4th New Jersey  Militia in  April 1861.   He  continued                                    in  service until  the close of the war,  and was mustered  out as  Major of the  8th  New  Jersey                                    Volunteers.    He  was an actor in all  principal  battles of the  Army of the  Potomac,   and was                                    wounded at Williamsburg, Chancellorsville and Spotsylvania and for gallant and meritorious con-                                duct during the war was brevetted 1st  Lieutenant and Captain in the  Army of the United States.

During  his service with the  20th Infantry  by soldierly  bearing,  and strict  attention to duty,  he                                  earned  for himself  the reputation of a  thorough soldier and by his  kindly disposition endeared                                  himself to his brother officers, the officers of the regiment will wear the usual badge of mourning                                thirty days.


By Command of Colonel George Sykes,                                                                                                                              John B. Rodman

1st. Lieutenant and Adjutant 20th Infantry                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mrs. L.H. Morris”


The condition of the document is general in very good condition, with some separations in the folds, and some light age toning,  I have not seen another like it in all of the correspondence I’ve seen from this period. They certainly thought a lot of him.

19.  Cabinet photo, unmounted, of Mrs. Lydia Higbee Morris. This was taken at the same time as her husbands (no.12); a cabinet photo on mount, of the son, Louis, taken by M.M.Gray, Columbus, Ohio; another image of Louis M. Jr. taken by G.C. Urlin, Columbus at about the same time; this image being a tin type in printed soft wrap mount; and two cdvs of Jenny Higbee Morris who was born in 1871 at Fort Snelling. These are probably a year apart; the earlier one that is identified was taken in St. Paul by Whitney’s Gallery, the other has no back mark.  Finally, this little lot of images contains a cdv of Minne-Ha-Ha Falls, taken by Munger Bros.

20.  The last of the photographs are of the captain’s son Louis when he enlisted during the Spanish American War era. A cabinet photo and a tin type have Louis, Jr. in uniform. He is wearing a five button blouse with a 2nd Corps badge pinned on in this photo taken by Lakeview Gallery, Augusta, Ga.  He must have been in a camp, prior to being shipped to Cuba, if his unit went.  In the tin type he is wearing his overcoat. Both images are very good condition, with the tin type running just a tad to the dark side.

21. This is a letter from the “your-used-to-be-working girl,” Mrs. Bertina M. Alexander to Mrs Lydia Morris, dated August, 1877.  The letter was sent from St. Paul, Minn. to Mrs. Morris now in New Jersey. Bertina was either a laundress, or house keeper, etc for the Morris’s when stationed at the agency.  She is the wife of one the sergeant’s in the 20th Infantry that served under Morris’s command.

It is a thoughtful letter, that goes way to far into what I wish to type, so I will photograph this so you get a good sense of the content. There is no separate cover with the letter.  Very good condition.

22.  This is Lydia’s photograph album, now empty, that did contain the cdv’s offered here.  There are a few loose images included but just civilians, and not Morris’s family. The fancy leather covered album shows a good deal of wear with the two closure straps missing. Mrs. Morris’s nickname, “Lily” appears in embossed gold inside the panel on the cover.  Although most of the images have disappeared, still a nice thing to have, it being hers, and keeping these images together.

23. Captain Morris’s epaulettes, in rough condition, (not photographed, and not figured for any value other then the single remaining regimental embroidered number insignia that went on the epaulette(s). The embroidered insignia is 2 1/2 inches in diameter, medium blue with silver bullion work, and gilt wire accent. 4 remaining straight pins for attaching are present. Velvet is well worn, but a nice item to have to accompany this 20th Infantry material.

Enclosed are photocopied data, auction records from 1999, Biographical date on most of these officers that had been photographed etc.

A great little historical grouping, highlighting a critical time in our nation’s struggle during the Civil War, and the growth pangs of a war tired populous expanding westward from the prospective of one family.

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