Carnegie Hero Charles S. Harris releases third book about Civil War relics

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A third book written by Carnegie Hero Charles S. Harris, a self-proclaimed relic hunter, was released in November 2017.

The History and Story of the Lookout Mountain Civil War Musket Cave Guns tells the story of nine Civil War muskets that were left in a cave on the side of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.

Harris said he started writing the story 20 years ago, but he kept setting it aside.

“I finally decided that I had to complete it or forget it,” he said.

The Lookout Mountain ridge straddles northwest Georgia, northeast Alabama and the Tennessee state line in Chattanooga, Tenn. It was the scene of the Nov. 24, 1863 battle called The Battle above the Clouds.

Harris, 76, spent part of his childhood on Lookout Mountain, and has always lived near the area.

“Actually the book starts when I was about 10 years old, when I saw my first of the Cave Guns,” Harris said.

The nine guns were found in 1931 and taken home with the finder, who died in the mid-1950s. They were then dispersed with the rest of his estate, and Harris has been on a quest to reunite them.

Harris has since collected five of the nine guns, and knows the location of the sixth, he said.

Harris also wrote Civil War Relics of Western Campaigns, 1861-1865 and co-authored Never Mace a Skunk II, which is a group of short stories about relic hunting.

At the age of 22, Harris was awarded the Carnegie Medal for pulling two girls, ages 8 and 10, from a submerged vehicle in Big Spring Creek near Guntersville, Alabama. The girls were in the rear seat of a coupe that entered the creek and sank in water, 11 feet deep. While the girls’ family escaped, Harris entered the vehicle multiple times to search for and ultimately remove the girls from the vehicle. One of the girls was revived, but the other had drowned. Harris continues to serve by acting as a volunteer presenter of the Carnegie Medal to new awardees in the southeastern U.S.

The book is softbound, 8.5-by-11 format, with 101 color pages. Retail is $20, plus $4 shipping. To purchase The History and Story of the Lookout Mountain Civil War Musket Cave Guns, write to Harris at 9819 Leslie Sandidge Drive, Ooltewah, TN 37363.

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