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Found 1 result

  1. Ozzy

    C. F. Smith

    Charles Ferguson Smith was lounging beneath a tree one Saturday afternoon, when Ulysses Grant approached him, explained the events that had occurred two miles further south; and pointing east, directed Smith to 'Take that Fort.' Brigadier General Smith replied, 'I will do it.' And the rest is history. CF Smith leads the attack C.F. Smith was regarded as a 'model Army officer,' who looked the way a soldier should look, and acted the way a soldier was expected to act. And yet, he was so much more... his immortal ride in company with the advance upon Fort Donelson was merely one example of the man's capabilities -- displayed over the course of a remarkable career. Graduated from West Point in 1825, with Artillery as his specialty, Smith spent time in garrison duty in Delaware and Georgia, before being recalled to the Military Academy in 1829 for assignment as 'assistant instructor of infantry tactics.' This was superseded a few years later by duty as Adjutant to the Superintendent; and ultimately, C.F. Smith served as Commandant of Cadets. In thirteen years of unbroken service at West Point, Smith had direct influence on the careers of hundreds of graduates of that institution; and he became known to all the USMA Classes, between 1830 and 1846; and Smith acquired personal knowledge of individual members of those classes that would be useful, years later, when fighting against some of them. Finally released from duty at West Point, Charles Smith returned to garrison duty, but only briefly: he was soon caught up in the War with Mexico. Initially serving in the northern theatre (under Zachary Taylor), the division (Worth's) of which Captain Smith was a member, ultimately wound up in the south (under Winfield Scott.) Seeing action on a dozen battlefields, and gaining brevet promotions on three occasions, two of Smith's engagements stand out: Churubusco. Part of the Campaign for Contreras, this strategically important location was protected on one side by a large lake; and on the other side, a vast, crumble-crust wasteland of lava bed was believed by the Mexican defenders to be 'impenetrable,' leaving only a long, narrow causeway between the two natural barriers ...which was easily defended. LtCol Smith led his light infantry battalion across the lava bed. And Churubusco fell. Chapultepec. Made famous as referenced in the Marine Corps Hymn, 'From the Halls of Montezuma...' Colonel Smith led his light infantry battalion in a tactical feint, that drew defenders away from the primary attack (the attackers forced to scale the tall fortress, perched on top of an abrupt mesa, by use of siege ladders.) Chapultepec fell. And a few days later, on September 14, 1847 Mexico City was captured, and the Mexican War was over (although the Treaty would not be signed for another six months.) Battle of Chapultepec (from wikipedia) After Mexico, C.F. Smith returned to peace-time operations, mostly in the Upper Midwest and West, and engaged in exploration and survey. And by 1860, he was in command of the Department of Utah. When Fort Sumter fell, Smith was called to Washington, to assist with fortifying the Capital. Afterwards, he was sent north on recruiting duty. Promoted to Brigadier General at the end of August, Smith was assigned to the Department of the West, and found himself at Paducah, where he replaced U.S. Grant as commander of that important Kentucky river port. And he assembled the regiments that would become known as the 2nd Division, Army of the Tennessee. Smith defended Paducah, and engaged in demonstrations and feints against Fort Columbus. And when U.S. Grant conducted his operation against Fort Henry, C.F. Smith led his division in the capture of Fort Heiman. After providing essential service at Fort Donelson, General Smith was available when U.S. Grant fell foul of Henry Halleck, and was assigned command of the expedition up the Tennessee River... which ultimately led to the establishment of camps at Savannah, Crumps and Pittsburg Landing. Following a March 15 meeting with Lew Wallace at Crumps, Smith was in process of leaving, when he stumbled in the darkness, and 'barked his shin' while boarding a small boat for the return to Savannah. (U.S. Grant arrived two days later, and took charge of the build-up of forces for the pending Operation against Corinth.) Meanwhile, Smith suffered constant pain; and eventually sought relief through a surgical operation on his leg (that became infected), and left him bed-ridden at the end of March. His health progressively deteriorated, until C.F. Smith succumbed on April 25, 1862. His body was returned to the city of his birth, Philadelphia, and buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Ozzy References: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/Cullums_Register/410*.html sites.google.com (image of General C.F. Smith leading the charge of the 2nd Iowa Infantry against Fort Donelson) http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=8049 (General C.F. Smith at find-a-grave) http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=yale.39002001964478;view=1up;seq=7 (The War with Mexico by Justin H. Smith, at HathiTrust) wikipedia
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