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[image ALT: A photograph of a man in his thirties, rather dashing in appearance, a rectangular face — clear skin and a wedge-shaped moustache — wearing a military jacket. He is Captain Sebree Smith, a West Point graduate whose career is detailed on this webpage.]

Captain Sebree Smith.

The preceding image, and the text that follows, are reproduced from (the report of the) Thirty-Third Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 9th, 1902.

p61 Sebree Smith1
No. 2359. Class of 1870.
Died, July 5th, at Catonsville, Md., aged 50.

Captain Sebree Smith, son of Calvin and Agnes Smith, was born on June 21st, 1851, at Smithville, Missouri. His father was from New England, his mother was a Virginian.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, his father, who owned a large number of slaves, was amongst the first to set his slaves free and to declare for the Union and against secession. Sebree, then a small boy, caught up the spirit of his father, and in his enthusiasm hoisted a Union flag on the top of a tall tree on his father's estate. This act of the boy caused a great commotion among the people of the neighborhood, many of whom were undecided on which side to take up arms.

The excitement occasioned by his act of bravery brought Sebree to the notice of the United States Senator from Mississippi, who some years after secured an appointment to the West Point Military Academy for the young Unionist. He entered as a cadet July 1st, 1866, and graduated June 15th, 1870. He was one of the youngest cadets ever sent out from the Academy.

He was promoted in the army to Second Lieutenant, Sixth Cavalry, June 15, 1870; served on frontier duty at Fort Richardson, Texas, October 13, 1870, to April 20, 1871; camp on Little Wichita River, Texas, January 10 to March 13, 1871; camp near Fort Sill, I. T., and Forts Harker and Hays, Kansas, April to November, 1871; Fort Riley, Kansas, November 8th, 1871, to May 3, 1872; Fort Dodge, Kas., June 28, 1872, to July 7, 1873; leave of absence from December 4, 1872, to January 10, 1873; First Lieutenant, Sixth Cavalry, October 4, 1872; Regimental Quartermaster, May 17, 1873, to April 4, 1874; camp near Fort Hays, Kansas, July 12 to October 18, 1873; Fort Hays, Kansas, to June 18, 1874; Fort Gibson, I. T., to August, p621874; scouting, June‑July, 1874; Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency, August to November, 1874; expedition in Indian Territory, December 21, 1874, to March, 1875; camp North Fork of Red River, Texas, March and April, 1875; Fort Dodge, Kansas, June 1 to August 2, 1875; and Camp Verde, Ara., October 9, 1875, to March 20, 1877; in garrison at Washington Arsenal, D. C., (transferred to Second Artillery February 9th, 1877), May 14 to July 18, 1877; suppressing railroad disturbances in West Virginia and Maryland, July 18 to August 10, 1877; in garrison at Washington Arsenal, D. C., August 10, 1877, to April 29, 1878; Fort Monroe, Va., (Artillery School for Practice) May 1, 1878, to May 1, 1880; Fort McHenry, Md., to January 16, 1881; Washington Barracks, D.C., to June 3, 1885; Regimental Quartermaster, January 20, 1881, to May 5, 1887; St. Augustine, Fla., to June 2, 1887, (leave of absence to October 1, 1887); Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to October 24, 1889, and Fort Adams, R. I., and Ft. Warren, Mass., to 1898. He was promoted to Captain, Third Artillery, March 3, 1898. Between the years 1870 and 1877 he saw hard service in Indian troubles. In 1889 he received an appointment which brought him east, where he served at Forts Adams and Warren, at both of which places he was very popular. In 1898 he went to Fort Stevens, Oregon, where he was in command, but, having inadequate assistance and a great deal of hard work to do — drilling troops for the Philippines — he was overworked. This, added to his keen disappointment and worry at not being allowed to go to the Spanish war and the Philippines, induced acute nervous prostration, and he was compelled to seek rest and treatment in a sanitarium, but he never recovered his health. He was ill for two years before his death.

Captain Smith was married on December 29th, 1873, to Miss Annie Watkins, of Detroit, Michigan. Seven children were born to them, four boys and three girls. Two of these (one a son, Sebree) died in Florida, and one son was killed by a p63fall. The only living son is Selwyn Dyson Smith, now a Lieutenant in the First United States Cavalry, having earned his position by enlisting as a private in United States Volunteers and taking part in the war in the Philippines. One of the daughters is the wife of Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.D. W. Ketcham, of the United States Artillery. The other two daughters are not married.

Captain Smith was very tall, being over six feet. He was a splendid horseman and marksman.

One of his army friends, who served with him a number of years ago, says of him: "We loved him for his many noble qualities. I never knew him to speak an unkind word or do an unkind act. He was a Christian gentleman without reproach, and it gives me great pleasure to bear this testimony to his character."

General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James Oakes (formerly Colonel of the Sixth Cavalry), in a recent letter, speaking of Captain Smith, whom he calls his friend and fellow officer, says: "During his service with me as a member of my regimental staff, I always found him an efficient, capable and energetic officer, ever ready for duty, and always doing the right thing at the right time. If he had any fault it was his extreme modesty. He never received full credit for his many noble and generous acts in official as well as in private life."

Two hours before his death Captain Smith saw his son Selwyn for the first time in two years, (Selwyn having enlisted and been in the Philippines.) He gave his son a smile of welcome, then sank into unconsciousness which lasted until his death.

He was a devoted husband, a loving father and a noble and brave officer. Captain Smith's remains are buried at Arlington.

Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Thomas B. Nichols,

Late Second Lieutenant Sixth Cavalry.


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Page updated: 4 Jul 14