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W.F. Smith

W.F. Smith

Federal (USA)

Major General

William Farrar Smith


(1824 - 1903)

Home State: Vermont

Education: US Military Academy, West Point, NY, Class of 1845;Class Rank: 4th

Command Billet: Commanding Division

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 2nd Division, VI Corps


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

After graduating from West Point, he was appointed to the Topographical Engineers, and served on engineering and lighthouse projects, and as an instructor at West Point until 1861.

He accepted a Volunteer commission as Col of the 3rd Vermont Infantry in July 1861, and was appointed Brigadier General August 1861. He was promoted to Major General of Volunteers July 4, 1862, and took command of the 2nd DIvision, VI Corps.

On the Campaign

Commanded the Second Division in Franklin's Sixth (VI) Corps.

The rest of the War

After Antietam he was assigned to the command of the VI Corps, and engaged at the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. The recriminations which followed led to the famous general order in which several of the senior officers of the army were dismissed and suspended by General Burnside. Smith was one of these, but it is to his credit that he did not leave the army, and as a Brigadier-General he commanded troops in Pennsylvania during the critical days of the Gettysburg campaign.

He transferred to the IX Corps in February, 1863, and became major in the corps of engineers (regular army) on 3 March. The next day his appointment of Major-General of volunteers, not having been confirmed by the senate, expired by constitutional limitation, and he resumed his rank of BGen in the volunteer service.

He was engaged in operations about Chattanooga, Tennessee, participating in the battle of Missionary Ridge.

He was re-confirmed as Major-General of volunteers in March, 1864, and in May assigned to the IIX Corps, which he commanded at Cold Harbor and at Petersburg till July, when he was relieved of his command and put on 'special duty'.

After the War

He resigned his US Volunteer commission in 1865, and that in the Regular Army in 1867. He became president of the International Ocean Telegraph company in 1865, police commissioner of New York city in 1875, and subsequently president of the board. After 1881 he was a civil engineer.

References & notes

Source: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903.; and
Source: Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889


2/17/1824; St. Albans, VT


2/28/1903; Philadelphia, PA