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William Duncan Smith
Confederate General


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Mexican War April 25, 1846--February 2, 1848

Brigadier-General William Duncan Smith was born in Georgia in 1826, and from that State was appointed to the United States military academy in 1842. Four years later he was graduated as brevet second lieutenant and immediately entered upon service in the war with Mexico. He was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco and Molino del Rey, in the last being severely wounded. He afterward served on the frontier and on garrison duty, and by 1858 had attained the rank of captain. He resigned his position in the United States army on January 28, 1861, and entering the service of the Confederate States, was commissioned captain of infantry, to date from March 16th. On July 14th he became colonel of the Twentieth Georgia regiment. He exhibited such fitness for command that on March 7, 1862, he was commissioned brigadier-general and ordered to report to J. C. Pemberton, at that time commanding the department of South Carolina and Georgia. In June he was placed in command of the district of South Carolina, with headquarters at Charleston. He was placed in charge of all the troops, infantry, cavalry and artillery on James island. On June I6th he commanded one wing of the forces under Gen. Nathan G. Evans at the battle of Secessionville, a very brilliant affair, which resulted in the complete triumph of the Confederates. Before that battle William Porcher Miles, of Charleston, had urged the Confederate government to remove General Pemberton, and suggested that Smith be put in his place. But General Smith's career of usefulness in the Confederate army was soon to close. Attacked by fever, he died on October 4, 1862, in the city of Charleston, in the defense of which he had rendered efficient and gallant service. The dispatches that passed between General Lawton at Savannah and General Pemberton at Charleston, in which each exhibits great desire to have the services of General Smith, indicate the estimate of his worth by his commanding officers, while the letter referred to, urging his appointment to department command, shows what the people of Charleston thought of him. His career in the Confederate army, though brief, reflects credit on his native State.
Confederate Military History
Side Confederate
State Georgia
Born July 28, 1825
Augusta, Georgia
Died October 4, 1862
Charleston, South Carolina
Buried Magnolia Cemetery
Augusta, Georgia

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