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Federal (USV)

Private

James O. Smith

Home State: New Jersey

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 13th New Jersey Infantry

Before Antietam

He enlisted on 9 August 1862 and mustered as Private, Company A, 13th New Jersey Infantry on 25 August.

On the Campaign

He was in combat for the first time, along with the rest of his Company, at Antietam on 17 September 1862. After the battle he saw

A strong, sturdy-looking Reb was coming laboriously on with a Yank of no small proportions perched on his shoulders. Wonderingly I joined the group surrounding and accompanying them at every step ... not because of the fact alone that he had brought into the hospital a sorely wounded Federal soldier, who must have died from hemorrhage had he been left on the field, but from the fact, that was palpable at a glance, that the Confederate too was wounded. He was totally blind; a Yankee bullet had passed directly across and destroyed both eyes, and the light for him had gone out forever. But on he marched, with his brother in misery perched on his sturdy shoulders. He would accept no assistance until his partner announced to him that they had reached their goal - the field hospital ...

The rest of the War

He mustered out with his Company on 8 June 1865.

After the War

By 1892 he was President of the 13th New Jersey's Veteran's Association. In 1902 he was appointed Chairman and one of 3 commissioners to establish a New Jersey monument on the field at Antietam, and was present at its dedication on 17 September 1903 along with Governor Murphy, President Roosevelt, General Carman, and many others.

References & notes

His service from Stryker.1 The quote above from his letter of 20 September 1862 from the Roulette Farm field hospital, found in Antietam National Battlefield lesson plan materials.

More on the Web

In 1893 he published My First Campaign and Battle: a Jersey Boy at Antietam - seventeen days from home in Blue and Gray Magazine (Philadelphia).

Notes

1   State of New Jersey, Adjutant-General's Office, and William S. Stryker, Adjutant General, Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 2 volumes, Trenton: John L. Murphy, Steam Book and Job Printer, 1876, Vol. I, pg. 630  [AotW citation 21860]