Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.
[decorative delimiter]

 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1853

Vol. II

(Born O.)

William S. Smith

(Ap'd O.)


William Sooy Smith: Born July 22, 1830, Tarlton, OH.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1849, to July 1, 1853, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut. of Artillery, July 1, 1853.

Second Lieut., 2d Artillery, July 9, 1853.

Served on Recruiting service, at the Ft. Columbus Depot, N. Y., 1853‑54.

Resigned, June 19, 1854.

Civil History. — Asst. Engineer, Illinois Central Railroad, 1854, — and in the service of the United States on the Public Works at Chicago, Ill., 1854. Principal of Buffalo (N. Y.) High School, 1855‑56. Civil Engineer, Buffalo, N. Y., 1857‑58, making various surveys, etc., on the Northern Lakes. Engineer and Secretary of Trenton (N. J.) Locomotive and Machine Manufacturing Company, 1858‑61, and employed in  p524 sinking cylinders by the pneumatic process, for piers for railway bridge across the Savannah River, 1859‑61.

Military History. — Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑64: at Camp Dennison, O., as Asst. Adjutant-General of Volunteers to Brig.‑General Schleich, May to June, 1861; in Western

(Colonel, 13th Ohio Volunteers, June 26, 1861)

Virginia Campaign, July, 1861, to Jan., 1862, being engaged in the Movement at Greenland Gap to intercept retreating rebels, July, 1861, — Expulsion of General Wise's forces from Ripley, Aug., 1861, — Skirmish near Sutton, Va., Sep. 1, 1861, — Action at Carnifex Ferry, Sep. 10, 1861, — and Pursuit of General Floyd's forces from Gauley Bridge out of West Virginia, Dec., 1861, participating in several skirmishes; in the Tennessee and Mississippi Campaign (Army of the Ohio), Feb. to June, 1862, being engaged in the Movement on Bowling Green and Nashville, Ten., Feb., 1862, — in charge of repairs of railroads centring at Nashville, Mar. to Apr., 1862, — Battle of Shiloh, Apr. 7, 1862, — Advance

(Brig.‑General, U. S. Volunteers, Apr. 15, 1862)

upon and Siege of Corinth, May 20‑30, 1862, — and opening railroad from Corinth, Mis., to Decatur, Ala., June, 1862; in command of 2d Division (Army of the Ohio), in guarding the triangle of railroads connecting Nashville, Decatur, and Stevenson, July, 1862, — of Bowling Green, Ky., Aug., 1862, — and of 4th Division (Army of the Ohio), in Movement on Louisville, Ky., Aug. to Sep., 1862, — in the Advance into Kentucky and Tennessee, commanding 4th Division (Army of the Ohio), being engaged in the Battle of Perryville, Ky., Oct. 8, 1862, — Pursuit of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bragg's Rebel forces, with frequent skirmishes, nearly to Cumberland Gap, Oct., 1862, — and March into Middle Tennessee, Oct., 1862; in command of 1st Division, 16th Army Corps, in the Vicksburg Campaign, Jan. to July, 1863, being engaged in guarding the railroad from Memphis to Grand Junction, Mis., Jan. to June, 1863, — in rear of Vicksburg, till its surrender, July 4, 1863, — and in Operations against General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.J. E. Johnston's relieving forces, participating in several skirmishes, and the Re-occupation of Jackson, July 16, 1863; and as Chief of Cavalry of the Department of the Tennessee, July 20 to Oct. 16, 1863, and of the Military Division of the Mississippi, Oct. 16, 1863, to July 16, 1864, being engaged in Raid, in command of 7,000 Cavalry, from Memphis, Ten., to West Point, Mis., Mar. 10‑25, 1864, participating in engagements at the Tallahatchie River, Mar. 12, West Point, Mar. 16, Okolona, Mar. 20, 1864, and frequent skirmishes, — and at Nashville, Ten., the headquarters of the Military Division, Apr. to July, 1864.

Resigned (sick), July 15, 1864.

Civil History. — Farmer, Oak Park, Cook County, near Chicago, Ill., since 1864. Civil Engineer and contractor, since 1865.

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

Civil History. — Civil Engineer, Chicago, Ill., since 1865.

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

Civil History. — Civil Engineer, Chicago, Ill., since 1900.

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

Civil History. — Noted Civil Engineer: pioneer in the use and development of pneumatic foundations; probably the first use of pneumatic caissons was in his construction of heavy sea wall around the Waugoshance Lighthouse in Straits of Mackinac: Chairman of Committee which designed and had built the Emery testing machine at the Watertown Arsenal; advocated use of steel in bridge building and erected the first steel railroad bridge over the Missouri River for the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Railroad; developed the freezing process for sinking shafts through quicksands and warm water-soaked material; foremost authority on foundations for heavy structures; designed the foundations for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; designed foundations for many of the lofty buildings in Chicago.

Died, March 4, 1916, at Medford, Oregon: Aged 85.

Buried, Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, IL.​a

[image ALT: A close-up of a granite stone marker, consisting of a four-line inscription, and above it, the device of a helmet and a marshal's baton. It is the inscription on the tombstone of Gen. William Sooy Smith, in Forest Park, Illinois; the inscription is transcribed on this webpage.]

Brig. Gen. Wm. SOOY SMITH

1830 — 1916



[image ALT: A partial view of a very large cemetery, with a small road cutting thru it on the left of the photo. In the foreground, a small headstone, somewhat tilted, is the closest marker. It is the grave of Gen. William Sooy Smith, in Forest Park, Illinois.]

Thayer's Note:

a A more critically informative biographical sketch may be found at Find-a‑Grave.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 16 Apr 19