Mr. Smith Goes to War

Students of the Civil War have often been confused by the common last names of officers.  References are often confusing for those who share a last name.  Researchers wanting to search for information on a general have to sift through a list citations to find the person they were looking for. Compounding the situation is that many share the same initials.

This brings me to my list of "Smiths" who fought in the Civil War. I started with general officers named "Smith." My  un-exhaustive research found 20 names.

  • Andrew Jackson Smith - USA

  • Charles Ferguson Smith - USA

  • Edmund Kirby Smith - CSA

  • Giles Alexander Smith - USA

  • Green Clay Smith - USA

  • Gustavus Adolphus Smith - USA

  • Gustavus Woodson Smith - CSA

  • James Argyle Smith - CSA

  • John Eugene Smith - USA

  • Martin Luther Smith - CSA

  • Morgan Lewis Smith - USA

  • Preston Smith - CSA

  • Thomas Benton Smith - CSA

  • Thomas Church Haskell Smith - USA

  • Thomas Kilby Smith - USA

  • William "Extra Billy"Smith - CSA

  • William Duncan Smith - CSA

  • William Farrar "Baldy" Smith - USA

  • William Sooy Smith - USA

  • Thomas Alfred Smyth - USA

Interesting Facts about the "Smith" Gang

  • Nine were graduates of West Point.

  • Five served in the Mexican War.

  • Four died during the Civil War.

  • Three were born in Pennsylvania and Tennessee and two were from Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New York.

  • Three fought at Fort Donelson

  • If you are confused about the Smiths at Shiloh, it's because nine of the men were involved in the bloody battle.

  • The best nicknames are William F. "Baldy" Smith and William "Extra Billy" Smith.

  • Thomas Alfred Smyth was the last Union general to die in the war.

  • Two Smith brothers (Morgan L. and Giles A.) fought for the Union.

  • Confederate Brigadier General Tomas Benton Smith lived until 1923, but spent his last years in a mental asylum in Tennessee.

  • Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith held the highest rank among the Confederates and was the last surviving full general of the Confederacy.

  • Two were named Gustavus --- Gustavus Adolphus Smith - USA and Gustavus Woodson Smith - CSA

  • Charles Ferguson Smith was cousin to Elizabeth Todd Grimsley Brown, first cousin to Mary Todd Lincoln.

  • Thomas Kilby Smith was US Consul in Panama and Morgan Lewis Smith was US Consul in Honolulu.

  • Six were lawyers/politicians, six were involved in education, and four were engineers.

  • Gustavus Adolphus Smith was a Internal Revenue collector.

Biographic Sketches

 

Name: SMITH, Andrew Jackson
Army: United States of America

Born: April 28, 1815, Bucks County PA
Died: January 30, 1897, St Louis MO
West Point Class: 1838

Pre-War Profession: Frontier duty.
Civil War Service: 1861 Col. of 2nd California Cavalry, resigned to become Halleck's chief of cavalry, March 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, Corinth campaign, commanded a division at Chickasaw Bluffs, commanded 10th Division /XIII Corps at Arkansas Post and Vicksburg campaign, Red River campaign, Pleasant Hill, May 1864 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers, served in Tennessee, Tupelo, Nashville, commanded XVI Corps in Mobile campaign.
Brevet Promotions: Brig. Gen. U.S.A. March 13 1865, Maj. Gen. U.S.A. March 13 1865.
Post War Career:  Army service, resigned 1869, postmaster, city auditor.



Name: SMITH, Charles Ferguson
Army: United States of America

Born: April 24 1807, Philadelphia PA
Died: April 25 1862, Savannah TN

West Point Class: 1825
Pre-War Profession:
Commandant of Cadets at West Point, Mexican War, Frontier duty, Red River expedition, Utah expedition.
Civil War Service:: 1861 recruiting duty, August 1861 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded Dist of Western Kentucky, commanded 2nd Division /Army of Tennessee at Forts Henry and Donelson, March 1862 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers, died of an infection and dysentery.
Comments:  He was cousin to Elizabeth Todd Grimsley Brown, first cousin to Mary Todd Lincoln.


 

Name: SMITH, Edmund Kirby
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: May 16 1824, St Augustine FL
Died: March 28 1893, Sewanee TN

West Point Class: 1845
Pre-War Profession: Mexican War, assistant professor at West Point, frontier duty, resigned April 1861.
Civil War Service: 1861 Lt. Col., June 1861 Brig. Gen., commanded 4th Brigade/Army of the Shenandoah at First Manassas (w), October 1861 Maj. Gen., Richmond KY, October 1862 Lt. Gen. in command of Trans Mississippi Dept until the end of the War, February 1864 General, repelled the Red River expedition.
Post War Career:  President of telegraph company, college professor, college president.
Comments: The last surviving full general of the Confederacy.


 

Name: SMITH, Giles Alexander
Army: United States of America

Born: September 29 1829, Jefferson County NY
Died: November 5 1876, Bloomington IL
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Hotel Proprietor.
Civil War Service: June 1861 Capt. in 8th Missouri, Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Col., commanded 1st Brigade/2nd Division at Chickasaw Bluffs, commanded 1st Brigade/2nd Division /XV Corps at Arkansas Post, Vicksburg campaign, August 1863 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, Missionary Ridge (w), commanded 4th Division /XVII Corps in Atlanta campaign, March to the Sea, Carolinas campaign, November 1865 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers.
Brevet Promotions: Maj. Gen. U.S.A. September 1 1864.
Post War Career: Assistant postmaster general.


 

Name: SMITH, Green Clay  
Army: United States of America

Born: July 4, 1826, Richmond KY
Died: June 29, 1895, Washington DC
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession Mexican War, lawyer, politician.
Civil War Service: March 1862 Col. of 4th Kentucky Cavalry, Lebanon TN, June 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, November 1862 elected to Congress, resigned commission December 1863.
Brevet Promotions: Maj. Gen. U.S.V. March 13, 1865.
Post War Career:  US congressman, territorial governor of Montana, pastor and temperance advocate.


 

Name: SMITH, Gustavus Adolphus
Army: United States of America

Born: December 26, 1820, Philadelphia PA
Died: December 11, 1885, Santa Fe NM
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Carriage manufacturer.
Civil War Service: 1861 Col. of 35th Illinois, Pea Ridge (w), recruiting duty, September 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers - not confirmed by the Senate, Col. of 35th Illinois, Col. of 155th Illinois, guarded railroads.
Brevet Promotions: Brig. Gen. U.S.V. March 13, 1865.
Post War Career:  Internal revenue collector.


 

Name: SMITH, Gustavus Woodson 
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: November 30 or December 1, 1821, Georgetown KY
Died: June 24, 1896, New York NY

West Point Class: 1842
Pre-War Profession: Mexican War, instructor at West Point, resigned US army 1854, civil engineer, street commissioner for New York.
Civil War Service: September 1861 Maj. Gen., commanded a wing of Johnston's army in Peninsula campaign, temporarily commanded ANV following Johnston's wounding, assigned to command in southern Virginia, served briefly as interim Secretary of War, resigned his commission when passed over for promotion, Maj. Gen. of Georgia militia, Chattahoochee River, battles around Atlanta, Savannah.
Post War Career:  Superintendent of iron works, insurance commissioner, wrote memoirs.


 

Name SMITH, James Argyle
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: July 1, 1831, Maury County TN
Died: December 6, 1901, Jackson MS

West Point Class: 1853
Pre-War Profession: garrison duty, Sioux campaign, Utah expedition, resigned May 1861.
Civil War Service: 1861 Capt., Maj., Lt. Col. in 2nd Tennessee, Shiloh, Col. of 5th Infantry in Confederate Regular army, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, September 1863 Brig. Gen., commanded Granbury's Brigade/Cleburne’s Division in Atlanta campaign (w), Franklin, commanded Cleburne's division at Nashville, Bentonville.
Post War Career:  Farmer, superintendent of public education.



Name: SMITH, John Eugene
Army: United States of America

Born: August 3, 1816, Berne, Switzerland
Died: January 29, 1897, Galena IL
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession Jeweler, politician.
Civil War Service: July 1861 recruited 45th Illinois - Col., Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, November 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded 1st Brigade/3rd Division /XVII Corps and 7th Division /XVII Corps in Vicksburg campaign, Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion's Hill, Big Black River, commanded 2nd Division /XVII Corps at Missionary Ridge, commanded 3rd Division /XV Corps in Atlanta campaign, March to the Sea, Carolinas campaign.
Brevet Promotions:: Brig. Gen. U.S.A. March 2 1867, Maj. Gen. U.S.A. March 2 1867.
Post War Career:  Army service, frontier duty, resigned 1881.


 

Name: SMITH, Martin Luther
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: September 9, 1819, Danby NY
Died: July 29, 1866, Savannah GA

West Point Class: 1842
Pre-War Profession: Surveyed coasts and rivers, Mexican War, civil engineer, resigned US army April 1861.
Civil War Service: March 1861 Maj. of engineers, worked on defenses of New Orleans, February 1862 Col. of 21st Louisiana, April 1862 Brig. Gen., command of Dist. in Dept. of Southern Mississippi and East Louisiana, command at Vicksburg, November 1862 Maj. Gen., Vicksburg (c), chief engineer to R E Lee, chief engineer to Hood at Atlanta, constructed defenses at Mobile.
Post War Career:  Civil engineer.


 

Name: SMITH, Morgan Lewis
Army: United States of America

Born: 1821, Mexico NY
Died: 1874, Jersey City NJ
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Teacher, enlisted in US Army (under a false name), river boatman.
Civil War Service: 1861 recruited 8th Missouri - Col., commanded 5th Brigade/2nd Division at Fort Donelson, commanded 1st Brigade/3rd Division at Shiloh, July 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded a division at Chickasaw Bluffs (w), after returning from sick leave commanded Dist of Vicksburg, July 1865 resigned.
Post War Career: US consul general in Honolulu, businessman.
Comments:  Brother of Gen. Giles A Smith  


 

Name: SMITH, Preston
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: December 25 1823, Giles County TN
Died: September 19 1863, Chickamauga TN
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Lawyer.
Civil War Service: 1861 Col. of 154th Tennessee, Shiloh (w), commanded a brigade in Cleburne's division, Richmond KY, October 1862 Brig. Gen., commanded Smith’s Brigade/Cheatham's Division at Chickamauga (mw).


 

Name: SMITH, Thomas Benton
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: February 24, 1838, Mechanicsville TN
Died: May 21, 1923, Nashville TN
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession Attended Nashville Military Institute, railroad worker.
Civil War Service: 1861 2nd Lt. in 20th Tennessee, Mill Springs, Shiloh, August 1862 Col., Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro (w), Chickamauga (w), Atlanta campaign, July 1864 Brig. Gen., commanded Tyler's Brigade/Bate’s Division at Jonesboro, Franklin and Nashville campaign, captured at Nashville and assaulted by an enemy colonel.
Post War Career:  Railroad worker, inmate of state asylum.


 

Name: SMITH, Thomas Church Haskell
Army: United States of America

Born: March 24, 1819, Acushnet MA
Died: April 8, 1897, Nordhoff CA
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Lawyer, constructor of telegraph lines.
Civil War Service: September 1861 Lt. Col. of 1st Ohio Cavalry, aide to Gen. Pope after Shiloh, November 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded Dist. of Wisconsin, inspector general of Dept. of the Missouri.
Post War Career:  Rancher, army paymaster, retired 1883.
Comments:  He made some enemies by giving biased evidence at Fitz John Porter's court martial. 


 

Name: SMITH, Thomas Kilby
Army: United States of America

Born: September 23 1820, Dorchester MA
Died: December 14 1887, New York NY
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Lawyer, post office clerk, US marshal in Ohio.
Civil War Service: September 1861 Lt. Col. of 54th Ohio, Col., Shiloh, Corinth, served on Grant's staff in Vicksburg campaign, August 1863 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, Red River campaign.
Brevet Promotions: Maj. Gen. US Volunteers March 13 1865.
Post War Career:  US consul in Panama.


 

Name: SMITH, William "Extra Billy"
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: September 6,1797, King George County VA
Died: May 18, 1887, nr Warrenton VA
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession: Lawyer, mail operator, politician, US congressman, governor.
Civil War Service: August 1861 Col. of 49th Virginia, First Manassas, elected to Confederate congress, Peninsula campaign, Seven Days, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg (w), January 1863 Brig. Gen., commanded Early's Brigade/Early’s Division, resigned from Congress, Gettysburg, elected governor, August 1863 Maj. Gen., inaugurated January 1864.
Post War Career: Farmer.
Notes His nickname was given for the extra payments he received in his mail coach business.  


 

Name: SMITH, William Duncan
Army: Confederate States of America

Born: July 28, 1825, Augusta GA
Died: October 4, 1862, Charleston SC

West Point Class: 1846
Pre-War Profession: Mexican War, garrison duty, on leave in Europe, resigned January 1861.
Civil War Service: March 1861 Capt., July 1861 Col. of 20th Georgia, March 1862 Brig. Gen. in Dept of South Carolina and Georgia, command of Dist of South Carolina, Secessionville, died of yellow fever.


 

Name: SMITH, William Farrar "Baldy"
Army: United States of America

Born: February 17, 1824, St Albans VT
Died: February 28, 1903, Philadelphia PA

West Point Class: 1845
Pre-War Profession: topographical engineer.
Civil War Service: July 1861 Col. of 3rd Vermont, August 1861 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded 2nd Division/IV Corps in Peninsula campaign, commanded 2nd Division/VI Corps in Seven Days, July 1862 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers, South Mountain, Antietam, commanded VI Corps at Fredericksburg, promotion not confirmed by the Senate, served in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, chief engineer of Dept of the Cumberland, organized defenses of Chattanooga, March 1864 promoted Maj. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded XVIII Corps in Virginia and North Carolina, Petersburg, relived of field command.
Brevet Promotions: Brig. Gen. U.S.A. March 13 1865, Maj. Gen. U.S.A. March 13 1865.
Post War Career:  Army service in engineers, resigned 1867, president of a telegraph company, president of board of police commissioners, government engineer, writer.



Name: SMITH, William Sooy
Army: United States of America

Born: July 22, 1830, Tarlton, OH
Died: March 4, 1916, Medford, OR

West Point Class: 1853
Pre-War Profession: resigned US Army 1854, engineer in railroad, teacher, civil engineer.
Civil War Service: June 1861 Col. of 13th Ohio, West Virginia campaign, Shiloh, Corinth, April 1862 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, commanded a division at Perryville, commanded 1st Division/XVI Corps in Vicksburg campaign, chief of cavalry of Union forces in the West, raided to West Point, Meridian campaign, July 1864 resigned due to ill health.
Post War Career:  Farmer, civil engineer, expert on bridge building.


 

Name: SMYTH, Thomas Alfred
Army: United States of America

Born: December 25, 1832, Ballyhooley, Ireland
Died: April 9, 1865, nr Farmville VA
West Point Class: None

Pre-War Profession Emigrated to US 1854, filibusterer in Nicaragua, coach maker.
Civil War Service: 1861 served in 24th Pennsylvania, Maj. in 1st Delaware, Suffolk, Lt. Col., Antietam, Col., Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, commanded 2nd Brigade/3rd Division /II Corps at Gettysburg, commanded 2nd Brigade/1st Division /II Corps at Wilderness, Spotsylvania, commanded 3rd Brigade/2nd Division /II Corps at Cold Harbor, October 1864 appointed Brig. Gen. of Volunteers, Petersburg campaign, commanded a division in Appomattox campaign, Farmville (mw).
Brevet Promotions: Maj. Gen. US Volunteers April 7 1865.
Comments:  Last Union general to die in the War.


Source: US Civil War Generals

Notes: w = wounded, c = captured, mw = mortally wounded

Revised 07/28/2011