Tattered flag of the the 44th NY Volunteer Infantry

Morris Cooper Foote was like Forrest Gump during his active and illustrious military service from 1861 until 1903, some 43 years of service. He just seemed to be everywhere that was important – good or bad – during his auspicious military career. He enlisted as a private in 1861 in the 44th New York Volunteer – the famed Ellsworth Avenger’s – and would rise to the level of Brigadier General in February 1903.

In April 1864 he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, being captured among hundreds of other Union soldiers at Plymouth, NC; eventually serving in six Confederate prisons between April and November of 1864. He was again in just the wrong place on September 17th 1864 while a prisoner of war in Roper’s Hospital in Charleston. The Federals were bombing Confederate-Charleston from Morris Island in the summer when a spent Federal artillery shell came through the roof at Roper’s Hospital; smashing into the bench he was sitting on, grazing his arm. Foote would eventually escape from Camp Sorghum, SC in late November 1864, spelling his way down the Santee River courtesy of the valued an inestimable assistance of the local contraband-negro population. His Forrest Gump-like Civil War service was capped off with him personally attending Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865.

Keywords: Morris Cooper Foote | 44th New York Volunteer Infantry | 92nd New York Volunteer Infantry | Plymouth, N.C. | Confederate Prisons | Libby Prison | Camp Sorghum

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