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William Sooy Smith
Union General


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Smith, William S., brigadier-general, was born in Tarlton, Ohio July 22, 1830. He was graduated at the Ohio university in 1849 and from the U. S. military academy in 1853. Resigning from the army in 1854 he became assistant to Lieut.-Col. James D. Graham of the U. S. topographical engineers, then in charge of the government improvements in the great lakes. In 1855 he moved to Buffalo, N. Y. and for a while was principal of a high school. In 1857 he was employed by the city of Buffalo as an expert to examine the various plans submitted for the international bridge across the Niagara river. Later he became engineer and secretary of the Trenton (N.J.) locomotive works, holding that connection until 1861. He visited Cuba in the interests of this company and also constructed an iron bridge across the Savannah river, where he introduced improvements in sinking cylinders pneumatically. At the commencement of the Civil war in 1861 he promptly offered his services, and was appointed lieutenant-colonel of Ohio volunteers and assigned to duty as assistant adjutant-general at Camp Dennison. He was commissioned colonel of the 13th Ohio infantry on June 26, 1861, took part in the campaigns of western Virginia, then entered the Army of the Ohio and was present at Shiloh and Perryville. He became brigadier-general of volunteers, April 15, 1862, when he joined the forces under Grant and participated in the Vicksburg campaign as commander of the 1st division of the 16th corps. Later he was made chief of cavalry of the Department of the Tennessee, and in that capacity was attached to the staff of Gen. Grant and Gen. W. T. Sherman until failing health compelled his resignation in Sept., 1864. Resuming his profession after the war, he built the Wangoshanee lighthouse at the entrance of the Straits of Mackinaw, where he sank the first pneumatic caisson in 1867. He built the first great entire steel bridge in the world, across the Missouri river at Glasgow, Mo., and was concerned in the construction of many others, including those at Leavenworth, Kan., and Omaha and Plattsmouth, Neb. He was president of the Civil Engineers, club of the Northwest in 1880.
Union Army
Side Union
Born July 22, 1830
Died March 4, 1916
Buried Forest Home Cemetery
Forest Park, Illinois

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