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McLean County, Illinois
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Giles Smith

Born in New York on 29 Sep 1829, Giles Alexander Smith, was in Missouri when the Civil War began and he joined his brother Colonel Morgan L. Smith's volunteer infantry and was appointed Captain.

In 1862, he was commissioned Colonel to a brigade in General William T. Sherman 's Army and for his performance in the capture of Arkansas Post was promoted Brigadier General.

He fought with General Ulysses S. Grant at Vicksburg in 1863 and with General Sherman at Atlanta in 1864.

In 1865, he was appointed command of a division in the 25th Corps, the only all-black corps in the army.

He was transferred to Texas, where the troops performed non-combat services and was promoted the last Union Major General of US Volunteers of the Civil War.

After the war, he served briefly as a postal official under President Grant.

Brigadier General Smith passed away on 5 Nov 1876 at the age of 47 and is interred at the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington.



Smith, Giles A., major-general, was born in the state of New York but in early life established his home in the state of Illinois, where he was residing at the beginning of the Civil war. On June 14, 1861 he became the captain of a company then organizing for service as a part of the 8th Mo. infantry. Before the organization of the regiment was complete it was called on to suppress the guerrillas engaged in committing depredations along the line of the North Missouri railroad, defeating them in the vicinity of St. Charles and Mexico, in which engagements Capt. Smith got his introduction to actual warfare. On July 29 he left St. Louis with the regiment and on Sept. 7 landed at Paducah, Ky., where he remained until the following February, the regiment then joining the forces moving against Forts Henry and Donelson. Fort Henry surrendered before the regiment arrived, but at Donelson it showed the metal of which it was made, and, under the command of Gen. Lew Wallace, assisted in the repulse of the attempt of the enemy to cut his way out. Capt.Smith at the head of his company and under the command of Wallace was in some of the heaviest fighting at Shiloh on the second day of that battle; was in the engagements about Corinth, Miss., and the operations in that vicinity until November, when the regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tenn. He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of his regiment on June 12, 1862, and eighteen days later was commissioned as its colonel. He joined Gen. Sherman's forces for the assault on the Confederate works at Chickasaw bluffs, where his regiment acquitted itself with credit, and a few days later was on the skirmish line in the assault on Arkansas Post. His was one of the regiments assigned to Steele's bayou expedition in the early movements against Vicksburg; took part in the feint against Haynes' bluff; was then in the battles of Raymond and Champion's hill, and in the advance on Vicksburg it was the first regiment to encounter and drive in the enemy's pickets. With his regiment he took part in the assaults on the Vicksburg works, and after the fall of that city was in the movement to drive Gen. Johnston from Jackson. On Aug. 4, 1863, he was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers, arid on Nov. 24, 1865, was commissioned major-general of volunteers. Previous to the latter date, on Sept. 1, 1864 he was brevetted major-general of volunteers for long and continued service and for special gallantry and completeness as an officer during the Atlanta and Savannah campaigns. Gen. Smith was honorably mustered out of the service on Feb. 1, 1866 and returned to the pursuits of civil life, in which he continued until his death, Nov. 5, 1876. (Source: "The Union Army", Volume VIII, Biographical, Federal Publishing Co., 1908. Transcribed by Elle DeJarnet)


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