Martin Luther Smith

Major General

Monument: Find-a-Grave

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Reference: Alabama Department of Archives & History. Custodian of the original pictures. Confederate Officers photo album.

Martin Luther Smith, a native of New York state, was born at Danby, Tompkins County, September 9, 1819, where his father had moved from Maine. He was graduated in 1842 at West Point a class which furnished no less than nine general officers to the Confederate Army and thirteen to the Union from a total of fifty-six men. He was commissioned in the topographical engineers. Smith's old army career was almost entirely spent in the South, where in 1846 he married a girl from Athens, Georgia. He was brevetted for meritorious conduct while mapping the valley of Mexico City during the war of 1846-48. His "associations, feelings and interests" compelled his resignation from the United States service on April 1, 1861 and his resolve to ally himself with the Confederacy. Commissioned major in the corps of engineers at the beginning of hostilities, he was soon promoted colonel of the 21st Louisiana Infantry. However, his forte was engineering. He was appointed brigadier general on April 11, 1862, and major general, November 4, 1862; and was given an important part in the planning and construction of the defenses of New Orleans and Vicksburg. However, he commanded troops at both places. A paroled prisoner of war for seven months after the surrender of Vicksburg, he was subsequently chief engineer of the Army of Northern Virginia and later of the Army of Tennessee. In the closing months of the war he prepared the defenses at Mobile under the supervision of General Beauregard. Surviving the surrender only a few months, he died in Savannah, July 29, 1866. He is buried in Athens.

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