The Mississippi in the Civil War Message Board

Tomorrow never came

As a side project I'm doing short biographies of all Mississippians who died in northern prisons for the Attala County Library. Below is one of them.

Private Monroe M. Harris Company B 42nd Mississippi (Compiled Military Service Records listed Private Monroe M. Harris Company B 42nd Mississippi Infantry) died of inflammation of the lungs on June 26, 1865.

He was taken POW at Gettysburg. He enlisted at Grenada, Mississippi in May 1862.

He told Confederate authorities he was 34 years old when he enlisted (Born about 1828) and had been farmer prior to the war and had been born in Tennessee and was married and listed his residence as Arkabutla, Mississippi. (Located today in Tate County, Mississippi however Tate County was established in 1873 from parts of Marshall, Tunica and De Soto Counties in Mississippi)

The 1850 United States census listed (Spelled as) Munroe Harris, born about 1827 in Tennessee and living in the Southern Division of De Soto County, Mississippi.

The 1860 United States census listed (Spelled as) M. M. (A male) Harris, born about 1829 in Tennessee and noted as a farmer and living with his wife (Spelled as) F. U. (A female) Harris, born about 1840 in Tennessee with their three young children. The family household was living in Tunica County, Mississippi and the nearest Post Office was reported as Austin.

According to Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935; M. M. Harris married Fanny Lindley on July 6, 1858 in De Soto County, Mississippi.

(The compiler notes nearly 10,000 Confederate prisoners were taken from the Battle of Gettysburg to Fort Delaware. Someone had to be the last Gettysburg prisoner to die and the Fort Delaware Society noted he was the last. Back in Mississippi many Confederate soldiers were reunited with their families returning from prisons and the war in May and June of 1865. For the Harris family they may have had excruciating anxiety in hopes for their loved ones return. The youngest daughter now about six years old in 1865 probably had hopes of seeing her father for the first time in her memory but maybe tomorrow he will be home. Soldiers returning from Fort Delaware may have said yes he is still there but probably will be released soon and may be home tomorrow. Friends and neighbors probably encouraged the family for his return, maybe tomorrow but tomorrow never came. It is not known when the Harris family learned of his death as the war was over and no one knew of his status. As the weeks and months went by the family probably had to come to the conclusion he may not be returning but there may have always been a glimmer of hope for tomorrow. When the family finally came to grips with denial the children may have wanted to see his grave years later but that too would not be possible for he was buried in a casket in a mass grave with thousands of others)

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