Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Defensive Engineer

Colonel David Bullock Harris died from yellow fever October 10th 1864 at Summerville, South Carolina.

David Bullock Harris was born September 28th 1814 at Fredericks Hall, Louisa, Virginia, the son of Frederick and Catherine Snelson (Smith) Harris.  He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, seventh in his class of 1833.  He served for two years in the artillery and as an engineering instructor at the Academy.  Resigning in 1835 as a Second Lieutenant, Harris went to work for the James River and Kanawha Canal Company as an engineer.  In 1845 he bought a plantation in Goochland County, Virginia known as “Woodville”.

When the Civil War began Harris was made a Captain of engineers for the Virginia Militia.  By July 1861 he was serving on the staff of Confederate Brigadier General Philip St George Cooke.  Following the First Battle of Manassas, where he planned and constructed works for its defense.  He moved to the staff of Confederate General PGT Beauregard.  Harris was made a Captain in the Confederate engineers, where he planned the defenses of many of the Southern port and river cities.  While with Beauregard in Charleston, South Carolina he had the defenses brought up so strong they withstood a Union siege.  On October 8th1863 Harris was promoted to Colonel.  In the summer of 1864 he was in Virginia, where he planned the defenses of Petersburg.

Harris was sent back to Charleston where he was placed in the post of Chief Engineer of the Department of South Carolina.  It was while serving there that he contracted Yellow Fever.  Harris died October 10th 1864 in Summerville, South Carolina.  He is buried in the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.