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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1845

Vol. II

(Born Vt.)

William F. Smith

(Ap'd Vt.)


William Farrar Smith: Born Feb. 17, 1824, St. Albans, VT.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1841, to July 1, 1845, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., Top. Engineers, July 1, 1845.

Served: as Asst. Top. Engineer on Survey of the Northern Lakes, 1845‑46; at the Military Academy as Asst. Professor of Mathematics, Nov. 6, 1846, to Aug. 21, 1848; as Asst. Top. Engineer on Explorations in the Department of Texas, 1848‑50, — on Survey of Boundary between

(Second Lieut., Top. Engineers, July 14, 1849)

the United States and Mexico, 1850‑52, — on Explorations in Texas, 1852, — in Survey of Canal route across Florida, 1853, — and on Explorations

(First Lieut., Top. Engineers, Mar. 3, 1853)

in Texas, 1853‑55; at the Military Academy as Principal Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Sep. 4, 1855, to Sep. 8, 1856; as Engineer of

(Captain, Top. Engineers, July 1, 1859, for Fourteen Years' Continuous Service)

11th Light-house District, Dec. 11, 1856, to Nov. 3, 1859; and as Engineer Secretary of Light-house Board, Nov. 3, 1859, to Apr. 15, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: on Mustering duty at New York city, Apr. 15 to May 31, 1861; on the Staff of Major-General Butler at Ft. Monroe, Va., June 1 to July 20, 1861, —

(Colonel, 3d Vermont Volunteers, July 16, 1861)

and of Brig.‑General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McDowell, July 20 to Aug. 13, 1861; in the Manassas Campaign of July, 1861, being engaged in the Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; in the Defenses of Washington, D. C., July 27, 1861, to Mar. 10, 1862; in the Virginia Peninsular Campaign, in command of

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Aug. 13, 1861)

Division (Army of the Potomac) Mar. to Aug., 1862, being engaged in the Siege of Yorktown, Apr. 5 to May 4, 1862, including the Skirmish of Lee's Mills, Apr. 16, 1862, — Battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1862, — Battle of Fair Oaks, May 31-Jun. 1, 1862, — Battle of White Oak

(Bvt. Lieut.‑Col., June 28, 1862,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Battle of White Oak Swamp, Va.)

Swamp, June 28, 1862, — Battle of Savage Station, June 29, 1862, —  p211 Battle of Glendale, June 30, 1862, — and Battle of Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862; in the Maryland Campaign, in command of Division (Army of the

(Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, July 4, 1862, to Mar. 4, 1863)

Potomac), being engaged in the Battle of South Mountain, Sep. 14, 1862, — Battle of Antietam, Sep. 17, 1862, — and on March to Falmouth, Va.,

(Bvt. Colonel, Sep. 17, 1862,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Battle of Antietam, Md.)

Oct. to Nov., 1862; in the Rappahannock Campaign, in command of 6th Corps, Nov. 14, 1862, to Feb. 4, 1863, and of 9th Corps, Feb. 4 to Mar. 17,

(Major, Corps of Engineers, Mar. 3, 1863)

1863 (Army of the Potomac), being engaged in the Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862; in command of Division in the Department of the Susquehannah, June 17 to Aug. 3, 1863, but engaged in Pursuit of the Rebel Army retreating from Gettysburg, July, 1863, — and in the Department of West Virginia, Aug. 3 to Sep. 5, 1863; as Chief Engineer of the Department of the Cumberland, Oct. 10 to Nov., 1863, — and of the Military Division of the Mississippi, Nov., 1863, to Mar. 31, 1864, in Operations

(Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Mar. 9, 1864)

about Chattanooga, being engaged in surprising a Passage and throwing a Pontoon Bridge across the Tennessee River at Brown's Ferry, Oct. 27, 1863, — and Battle of Missionary Ridge, Nov. 23‑25, 1863; in command of 18th Corps (Army of the Potomac), May 2 to July 19, 1864, in Operations before Richmond, being engaged in the Battles of Cold Harbor, June 1‑3, 1864, — and Siege of Petersburg, June 1864; awaiting orders at New York city, July 19 to Nov. 22, 1864; and on Special duty, under the orders of the Secretary of War, Nov. 22, 1864, to

(Bvt. Brig.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865,
for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Battle of Chattanooga, Ten.)

(Bvt. Maj.‑General, U. S. Army, Mar. 13, 1865, for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion)

(Resigned Volunteer Commission, Nov. 4, 1865)

Dec. 15, 1865;​a and on leave of absence, Dec. 15, 1865, to Mar. 7, 1867.

Resigned, Mar. 7, 1867.

Civil History. — President of the International Telegraph Company, 1864‑73. Commissioner of Police, New York city, May 1, 1875, and President of the Board of Police Commissioners, Dec. 31, 1875, to Mar. 11, 1881. Civil Engineer, in the service of the United States, since 1881.

Military History. — Re-appointed, by Act of Congress of Feb. 27, 1889,

Major, U. S. Army, Mar. 1, 1889, on the Retired List.

Vol. IV
[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

Military History. — Retired officer. — In charge of a district of river and harbor improvements under the Engineer Department. — Wilmington, Del.

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Civil History. — Retired officer. — In charge of a district of river and harbor improvements under the Engineer Department. — Wilmington, Del.º

Died Feb. 28, 1903, at Philadelphia, Penn.: Aged 79.

See Annual Association of Graduates U. S. M. A., 1901, for an obituary notice, with a portrait.

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Thayer's Note:

a On a quick first pass — i.e., on the Web — I've been unable to discover what this "special duty" might have been; but although Gen. Smith was in the doghouse, it placed him in New Orleans and New York and must have been something of some importance, since in the Register's entry on Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George W. Dresser (q.v.), it is considered noteworthy for the latter's career that he should have served with him on it.

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Page updated: 15 Feb 13