Speed Smith Fry

Speed Smith Fry was born in what is now Boyle County, Kentucky, on September 9, 1817. He attended Centre College at Danville, Kentucky, for a time but was graduated from Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1840. He studied law and in 1843 became a member of the Kentucky bar. When hostilities with Mexico began in 1846, Fry recruited a company of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry, which he commanded as captain until he was mustered out the following year. From 1857 until the outbreak of the Civil War he was county judge of Boyle County. A staunch Unionist, he was appointed a colonel of the Union militia in July, 1861, and in October of that year was made colonel of the 4th Kentucky Infantry. In January, 1862, he took part in the battle of Fishing Creek. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 21, 1862, and served in George H. Thomas' division of Don Carlos Buell's army in the campaign of Shiloh, the division reaching the field after the fighting was over. (Buell went on record as condemning Fry as "inefficient.") Under Buell's successor William S. Rosecrans, Fry took part in the campaign of Stone's River (Mur-freesboro), commanding a division, none of which was engaged save for one regiment and a battery, the balance being "detained" near Gallatin. From then until the end of the war he performed garrison duty, much of the time in command of Camp Nelson, the vast Union recruit and deployment depot south of Lexington. He was mustered out of the service on August 24, 1865, without being awarded the brevet of major general, usually automatic in the case of a brigadier with Fry's time in grade. For three years after 1869 General Fry was supervisor of internal revenue in Kentucky. At the time of his death on August 1, 1892, he was superintendent of the Soldiers' Home near Louisville. He was buried in Danville.

Previous Page

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