Biography of Henry V. Morris

This brief biography details Henry V. Morris's engineering career and his roles in the Union Army.


         Henry V. Morris was born April 7, 1819, at New Glasgow, Amherst county, Va. He entered the A. L. S. and M. academy, September, 1831, from Charles county, Md., and remained until 1836. He was professor of “Topographical Drawing, and Practical Use of Instruments in Field Operations,” in the school of Engineering, at the University of Virginia, in 1836-’37. In October, 1837, he was appointed by H. P. Woodworth ’25, chief engineer of Illinois state system of internal improvement, as an assistant engineer, and remained in this position three years. He returned to Norwich in August, 1840, and was appointed professor of engineering at Norwich University, and remained until 1843. He then became a professor at the Branch school at Bristol, Bucks county, Penn., under Capt. Partridge 1843-’45.

         He received from the University the degrees of M. C. E. in 1838, and A. B. in 1841. He was connected with surveys and construction of railroads in Maryland and Ohio till 1854, then engaged in manufactures and dealing in railroad supplies at Cincinnati, O., from 1855-’61. On June of that year, he removed to Wisconsin to accept a position as engineer on the northern extension of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, above Lake Winnebago, in that state. 

         After the battle of Bull Run, he resigned his position, and, October, 1861, was commissioned military instructor at Camp Douglass, Chicago, “State Rendezvous” at that time; and remained there till February, 1862. May, 1862, he was commissioned by Governor Solomon of Wisconsin, adjutant Twentieth regiment, Wisconsin Infantry. He served with the regiment in the “Army of the Frontier” in Southwest Missouri and Arkansas, and participated in the battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., December 6 and 7, 1862. May, 1863, the regiment was transferred to Vicksburg, Miss., and after the fall of that place, was forwarded to Alabama, taking part in the operations about Mobile. In November, 1863, he was commissioned by President Lincoln, in the “Veteran Reserve Corps.” May, 1864, he was assigned to the Eighth regiment, V. R. C., which, with the Sixteenth regiment, was performing garrison duty, and guarding prisoners of war at Camp Douglass, the number confined at that time being 16,000. He was appointed on the staff of the colonel commanding the post, and continued to discharge duties, involving the following: Charge of all passes, details for guard and picket duty, guard-mounting; the consolidation of tri-monthly and monthly post returns; receiving and forwarding recruits and deserters. He was brevetted major at the close of the war by President Johnson for his services in the Twentieth Wisconsin Vols. and the Veteran Relief Corps.

         He resigned his commission near the close of the war, and in 1868 removed to Missouri, and became actively engaged in engineering in that state and Kansas, till near the close of 1873. In 1874, he was appointed to a position in the engineering department of St. L., K. C., & N. Railroad Company, at present the Wabash Railroad Company (by consolidation with the Toledo, Wabash and Western) in St. Louis, where he has resided for nearly twenty-five years. He is a member of Ransom Post, No. 131, G. A. R., of St. Louis.


William A. Ellis, Norwich University: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor (Concord, NH: Rumford Press, 1898), 236-237.