Andrew Jackson Smith

Andrew Jackson Smith, whose father fought twice in wars against Great Britain, was born on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on April 28, 1815. After his graduation from West Point in the class of 1838 he was commissioned into the 1st Dragoons with which he served all over the west during the next twenty-three years. He was promoted first lieutenant in 1845, captain in 1847, and major on May 13, 1861. At the beginning of the Civil War, Smith was commissioned colonel of the 2nd California Cavalry, but resigned his volunteer commission on November 3 to become chief of cavalry under General Henry W. Halleck, serving as such until after the evacuation of Corinth by P. G. T. Beauregard's Confederates. On March 20, 1862, he was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers to rank from the seventeenth and on May 14, 1864, was advanced to major general. He commanded one of W. T. Sherman's four divisions at Chickasaw Bluffs in December, 1862, and a division of the XIII Corps the following month in the attack on Arkansas Post and during the Vicksburg campaign. In N. P. Banks's campaign up Red River during the spring of 1864 he directed elements of the XVI and XVII Corps detached from the Army of the Tennessee. He then served successively in Tennessee, Mississippi (defeating Nathan B. Forrest at Tupelo, July 14, 1864), Missouri, and back to Tennessee to take part in the battle of Nashville against John B. Hood. By this time the wanderings of his troops had become so extensive that he referred to them as the "lost tribes of Israel." During the campaign against Mobile in 1865 Smith commanded the reorganized XVI Corps of two divisions. At the close of the war he was brevetted major general in the Regular Army and in 1866 became colonel of the 7th Regular Cavalry. After receiving an appointment as postmaster of St. Louis (his wife's home) in 1869 from President Grant, General Smith resigned his army commission. He was city auditor of St. Louis from 1877 to 1889 and commanded a brigade of Missouri militia during the strikes of 1877. Under an act of Congress approved on December 24, 1888, Smith was reappointed in the army on January 22, 1889, and retired with rank of colonel of cavalry the same day. He died at his home in St. Louis on January 30, 1897, and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery. His career attracted little notoriety compared to that of many of his colleagues; nevertheless, he was one of the most competent division and corps commanders in the service.

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Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.