Harris info sign
Just to the left of the monument, as you are facing it. Marker A plexiglas info sign on a metal stand. Next in French on the left and English on the right. Includes four photos.
Charles Dashiell Harris was born on January 25, 1897, in Fort Niagara, New York. Son of Peter Charles Harris, Brigadier General in the American army, and his wife Mary, he was the second child of three his education, began at a public school of Washington DC, continued at Plattsburg, New York, then at Saint John's school in Manlius, New York. He entered a military preparatory school in Washington DC in preparation for entry into the US military Academy at West Point, in June 1914. He graduated from the class of 1918 on August 30, 1917, and advanced graduation date due to the impending war. Charles Dashiell Harris was commissioned as a captain in the regular Army and assigned to the sixth engineers Regiment in the Washington barracks, DC with the military number 5745. On December 2, 1917, he left with his company (B) for Hoboken, New Jersey, en route for France. Part of the third infantry division, the sixth engineers arrived in France several months before the division. Captain Harris was assigned to the Langres area, from December to February, and was responsible for the management of the engineering installations in his sector. From February 10, the sixth engineers was attached to the Vth British Army to carry out works in the Somme. During the German offensive in March 1918, Captain Harris and his company provided valuable help to the British by digging trenches and operating as infantry to reinforce the British Army which was suffering under the intensity of the German attacks. The sixth engineers received congratulations from the British General RAWLINSON for their action. Thereafter, the sixth engineers rejoined the third infantry division and participated in the second battle of the Marne (July 18), and then to the Saint Mihiel salient drive. (September 12). Send South of Montfaucon to build and repair engineering works in preparation for the Muse Argonne offensive, the sixth engineers again act is as infantry soldiers when there was no work to do. At 7 AM on October 20, 1918, after the failure of the previous infantry assault, three companies of the sixth engineers led by Captain Harris, decided to launch their own attempt to gain the Clairs Chenes woods. With a small detachment, Captain Harris captured two machine guns and three prisoners. Seeing that the Germans were preparing a counter attack, he seized one of the machine guns, advanced toward an open space to get a clear field of fire and fired against the enemy when he was shot through the left lung. His men tried to carry him to an American aid station but lost their way in the forest and were captured by the enemy. Captain Harris was carried to a German first aid station near Aincreville where he died. He was respectfully buried by the Germans, about 600 yards south east of the village. On January 1919, his uncle, Lieutenant Colonel Seale Harris, a doctor in Paris, went to Aincreville and moved the Captain's body to an area not subject to flooding. After several roundtrips between Aincreville and Romagne, Captain Harris'remains were ultimately repatriated to the USA on June 21, 1921. On November 1921, General Peter Charles Harris wrote a letter to the mayor of Clery le Grand that he was seeking to purchase a small section of land suitable to erect a memorial for his son. The municipality accepted and gifted a 60 mē plot of land to him, nearby the place where Captain Harris fell. In 1988, on the initiative of M. Norman B. IORIO, superintendent at the Romagne American Cemetery, and the municipality of Clery le Grand, Captain Harris'Memorial was moved to a more suitable place near the path between Cunel and Clery le Grand. On October 23, 1993, Captain Harris was made an honorary citizen of Clery le Grand. A detachment of French and American soldiers attended the ceremony as well as members of French memorial associations and residents of the village. Captain Harris was post humorously awarded the American Distinguished Service Cross.