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R. P. Smith

R. P. Smith

Federal (USV)


Richard Penn Smith

(1837 - 1887)

Home State: Pennsylvania

Command Billet: Commanding Regiment

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 71st Pennsylvania Infantry

Before Antietam

From Philadelphia, he enrolled as Lieutenant in Company F, 71st Infantry in May 1861, and was appointed Adjutant of the Regiment in February 1862.1 In May, at Fair Oaks, he had his horse shot from uner him and was slightly injured.2 He was promoted to Captain, Company A in August.1

On the Campaign

He relieved the wounded Colonel Wistar in command of the Regiment as that officer fell near the Dunkard Church in the II Corps attack of the 17th. He was himself wounded in the ankle and retired from the field.2

The rest of the War

He was again promoted, to Major of the Regiment on 1 November 1862, and to Colonel on 1 May 1863. He was in command at Gettysburg, where the 71st defended the wall at the furthest reach of Pickett's Charge on 3 July. He mustered out with the Regiment on 2 July 1864.1

References & notes

Additional service data from his Veteran's Card.3 The photo of the Colonel here is from the US Army Military History Institute collection (image RG98S-CWP-111.44). Thanks to Tony Cossean for details of the Colonel's birth and death, and the photo of his gravestone.


05/09/1837; Philadelphia, PA


11/11/1887; Staten Island, NY; burial in Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island, NY


1   Bates, Samuel Penniman, History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-65, Harrisburg: State of Pennsylvania, 1868-1871, Muster rolls: Co. A, Co. F, and F&S, 71st Pa. Inf.  [AotW citation 321]

2   Lash, Gary, Edward Baker's California Regiment (71st Volunteer Pennsylvania Infantry), Published c. 2005, first accessed 27 November 2005, <>, Source page: /fairoaks.cfm and /antietam.cfm  [AotW citation 323]

3   Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Adjutant-General, Pennsylvania Civil War Veterans' Card File, 1861-1866, Published <2005, first accessed 01 July 2005, <>, Source page: /archive.asp?view=ArchiveItems&ArchiveID=17&FL=S&FID=1417411  [AotW citation 322]