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William Farrar Smith papers, 1849-1903.
Smith, William Farrar, 1824-1903.
Library Call Number Copy Material Location
Vermont Historical Society Library  MS 112  Manuscript  Vault-Manuscript 

Personal Author : Smith, William Farrar, 1824-1903.
Title : William Farrar Smith papers, 1849-1903.
Physical Description : 2 linear ft.
General Note : Continued in: MS 113-115.
Summary :

The William "Baldy" Smith papers are from Smith's military career particularly his service during the Civil War. There is military correspondence and official reports of troop activities. The bulk of the collection is made up of papers collected as the result of the writing of "From Chattanooga to Petersburg under Generals Grant and Butler: a Contribution to the History of the War, and a Personal Vindication," (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1893).

As part of Smith's research he solicited recollections from fellow soldiers about the battles thirty years after the war, and these are included in Smith's correspondence. Also included in his research are diaries of Nicholas Bowen and M. S. Lamprey.

In 1883 Smith wrote an autobiography for his daughter which describes his Civil War experiences; it is included in this collection along with an appendix written in 1887. There is also biographical information about comrades, probably written by Smith, and notes about William Scott, the "sleeping sentinel."

Biographical or historical data :

William Farrar Smith, also known as Baldy Smith, was born in St. Albans, Vermont, February 17, 1824, the son of Ashbel and Sarah Butler Smith. He was educated locally until appointed to the Military Academy at West Point in 1841. He graduated in 1845 and was commissioned as brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Topographical Engineers. He served in the Corps making surveys of the Great Lakes, Texas, Arizona, Mexico, and Florida. In 1856 he became involved in the light-house service, headquartered in Detroit, and eventually became Engineer Secretary of the Light-House Board. During his early career, Smith also taught mathematics at West Point.

In 1861 Smith was sent to Fortress Monroe as an engineer officer to do reconnaissance work around Yorktown and Big Bethel. He was then commissioned as Colonel of the Third Regiment of Vermont Volunteer Infantry. He was named Brigadier General in August of 1861 and almost immediately was given charge of the Second Division of the IV Corps, Army of the Potomac. In 1862 he commanded the Second Division, VI Corps, at Antietam. In October of 1863 Smith went to Chattanooga as chief engineer and by March 1864 was re-appointed major general. He was then assigned to the XVIII Corps under Benjamin Franklin Butler but was soon relieved of his command. In March of 1865 Smith was brevetted brigadier-general and major general for distinguished services at Chattanooga, and in the Virginia Campaign of 1864.

Smith resigned from the volunteers in 1865, and from the regular army in 1867. His publications include: "Military Operations Around Chattanooga," (1886); articles for "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War" (four volumes, 1887-1888); "The Relief of the Army of the Cumberland" (1891); and "From Chattanooga to Petersburg," (1893).

Personal Subject : Johnston, Joseph E.
Smith, Charles F.
Franklin, William Buel, 1823-1903.
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885.
Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1818-1893.
Scott, William, 1839-1862.
Corporate Subject : United States. Army. Vermont Infantry Regiment, 3rd 1861-1865
Geographic Term : United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Personal narratives.
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Maps
Vermont History Civil War, 1861-1865.
Genre/Form : Correspondence.
Added Title : From Chattanooga to Petersburg under Generals Grant and Butler.
Electronic Resource : Click here for full text of finding aid.