Sunday, December 4, 2011

Major Lewis N. Morris

It's said that the funeral of Major Lewis N. Morris was the longest in Albany's history, stretching all the way from downtown to the high and scenic Middle Ridge of the Rural Cemetery nearly three miles away.

The son of Col. Staats Morris (who served under "Mad Anthony" Wayne during the Revolution) and grandson of a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Lewis N. Morris graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1820.

Morris served in the Mexican War and took part in the Battles of Palo Alto and Resace de la Palma, earning recognition for his "gallant and meritorious conduct." On September 21, 1846, he was killed by a shot to the heart during the American victory at Monterey.

The following year, the citizens of Albany erected a massive sandstone monument on his grave "to commemorate the gallantry of the soldier, the worth of the man."

The monument which features a soldier's cap and a large cannon barrel draped with a wreath and a flag, was reportedly the prototype for many of the Cemetery's Civil War monuments a generation later.

(Major Morris' son, Lewis O. Morris, followed in his footsteps. During the public memorials for Major Lewis, a sword commissioned for the father was presented to the son. Lewis O. Morris received an Army commission the following year and was killed at Cold Harbor during the Civil War)

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