William Duncan Smith

Headstone: Find-a-Grave

William Duncan Smith was born in Augusta, Georgia, July 28, 1825, and was graduated from West Point in 1846. He fought in many of the battles of the Mexican War and was severely wounded at Molino del Rey. From 1859 to 1861 he was on leave of absence in Europe, and on January 28 of the latter year, resigned his commission of captain, Second Dragoons, to enter Confederate service. First commissioned colonel of the 20th Georgia Infantry on July 14, he was promoted brigadier general to rank from March 7, and ordered to report to General John C. Pemberton, then in command of the Department of South Carolina and Georgia. In June, Smith was placed in command of the District of South Carolina, with headquarters at Charleston. On the sixteenth of that month he led one wing of General "Shanks" Evans' forces at the battle of Secessionville, South Carolina— an affair which resulted in a complete victory for the Confederates. Smith had by this time exhibited considerable ability both as a desk commander and in the field; and William Porcher Miles went so far as to urge his appointment to supersede Pemberton. However, he shortly contracted yellow fever and died at Charleston on October 4, 1862, at the early age of thirty-seven. He is buried in the City Cemetery of Augusta.

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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