Gustavus Woodson Smith

Monument: Find-a-Grave

Gustavus Woodson Smith was born at Georgetown, Kentucky, on either November 30 or December 1, 1821, and was graduated from West Point in 1842. By profession an engineer, his varied career prior to the Civil War included service in Mexico, where he was thrice brevetted; duty at the Military Academy as an instructor; and work on the construction of fortifications. He resigned in 1854 to become a civil engineer. The outbreak of hostilities found him street commissioner of New York City and prominent in Democratic political circles. Commissioned major general in the Confederate Army on September 19, 1861, he commanded a wing of the Army of Northern Virginia during the Peninsular campaign. He was in chief command for a few hours after General Joseph E. Johnston was wounded at Seven Pines. He also served as Secretary of War ad interim in November 1862, and resigned his major generalcy the following January because of the promotion over his head of a number of officers junior in rank. He was then appointed a major general of Georgia militia by Governor Joseph E. Brown. General Smith organized the state forces and fought them with marked efficiency, particularly on the Chattahoochee before the battle of Atlanta, and on the fortified line at Savannah. Surrendering at Macon, April 20, 1865, the General was for some years superintendent of an iron-works at Chattanooga, Tennessee, and insurance commissioner of Kentucky from 1870 to 1876. He then moved to New York City, where he resided until his death, June 24, 1896. He published several works on the Mexican and Civil Wars, notably Confederate War Papers, and The Battle of Seven Pines. He is buried in New London, Connecticut.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

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