George Augustus Smith III

George Augustus Smith III was born in Georgia on November 4, 1824, the son of George A. and Agnes (Harrell) Smith. Before the war he was a candy maker in Macon. In 1861 Smith raised, in his native city, the "Brown Infantry," later Company C of the 1st Independent Georgia Battalion. The unit was ordered to Pensacola, where Smith commanded a battery of artillery. During the November 22 and 23, 1861, bombardment of Pensacola by Federal forces, he fired the first gun on the Confederate side and won praise for his steadiness and courage. Smith was elected lieutenant Colonel of the 1st Georgia (Confederate), formed from the 1st Georgia Battalion on December 10, 1861, and commissioned colonel on September 10, 1863, to rank from November 25,1862. The 1st served as part of the garrison of Mobile, Alabama, from February, 1862, through 1863. Smith commanded Fort Gaines and often was in brigade command in the garrison. During the Atlanta campaign of 1864, Smith's regiment was transferred to the Army of Tennessee and attached to Brigadier General Clement Stevens' Georgia brigade. During the June 27, 1864, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain; General Stevens placed Smith under arrest because Smith had granted a temporary front line truce so that both sides could tend to their dead and wounded. The charges were not followed up; the services of the popular and respected Colonel Smith were too valuable to lose. In the Battle of Atlanta on June 22,1864, Smith led Stevens' Brigade (Stevens having been mortally wounded on July 20). He had his horse shot from under him, and was severely wounded in the left shoulder. After a brief convalescence, the not-yet-recovered Smith, "known for his modesty, his firmness of purpose, integrity and intelligence," followed the Army of Tennessee to the Franklin battlefield. Smith was killed in the assault of November 30,1864, falling "most gallantly while putting his regiment into the interior works of the enemy." Buried first on the battlefield and later at the McGavock Confederate Cemetery, Colonel Smith's remains were reinterred in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, in July of 1867, in a family plot.

Smith is termed a general in SHSP. His tombstone inscription also terms him "Brig. Gen. C.S.A." However, the OR uniformly designate his rank as colonel. An obituary in the July 10, 1867, Macon journal and Messenger calls him a colonel at a time when hometown newspapers were not likely to downgrade an officer's rank. He led the 3rd Brigade of the Department of the Gulf in 1863 and temporarily led a brigade in the Atlanta campaign, both times as a colonel.

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Reference: More Generals in Gray. Bruce S. Allardice. A companion volume to Generals in Gray. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge. LA.