Samuel J. Harris – First Lieutenant, United States Army

Samuel J. Harris was born in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, on 24 December 1896.  He served as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army, in World War I.  He then served as First Lieutenant, American Brigade, 112th United Stated Infantry, in Lithuania, where he was killed-in-action on 24 February 1920.

The group of officers of the Brigade left the United States in November 1919, and arrived in Kaunas on December 31. They had had to sail from Quebec because of the steamship strike in New York. They visited Lithuanian Minister Count A. Tyszkiewicz in London, where they first heard of the Lithuanian victory at Šiauliai over Bermondt.

Approximately 10,000 enlisted men were ready to go to Lithuania. The U. S. government would not allow direct transportation so arrangements were made for them to be taken to Canada as laborers. From there they were to sail to Riga. The expedition was financed by the Lithuanians, with some assurance that there would be unpublicized indirect support from the U.S. government. The British took no part in this as they already had a military mission in Kaunas under General Crozier.

The only loss suffered by the Brigade was Lieutenant Samuel Harris, who died in the army revolt of February 1920. His mother received a pension from the Lithuanian government and a post-humous cross.

The insurrection of February 1920 was due to Communist agitation among the inexperienced peasant boys in the Lithuanian army. The uprising was quelled immediately, through the activity of the American and British officers of the military missions present in Lithuania.

S. J. Harris, Jr., Victim of Mutiny Of Lithuanian Troops

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – February 28, 1920

Word has been received by Mrs. S.J. Harris of this city telling of the death of her son, First Lieutenant Samuel J. Harris, Jr., from wounds received while helping to suppress the recent mutiny of troops in Kovno, Lithuania.  The message came from Commander Gade at the headquarters at Riga,

Lieutenant Harris was a student at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at the time of his first enlistment with Company G of the old 8th Regiment, and served a year on the Mexican Border.  Later he re-enlisted and went over-seas with the 112th Regiment, 28th Division.  Subsequently had had joined the Lithuanian Army and was an instructor at the time of his death.

Lieutenant Harris was a son of the late S. J. Harris, a former Sheriff of Cumberland County.


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