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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1892

Vol. IV

(Born Ten.)

William R. Smith

(Ap'd Ten.)


Born Nashville, TN.​a

Military History. — Cadet at the U. S. M. A., from June 16, 1888, to June 11, 1892, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

(Add. Second Lieut. of Artillery, 1st Artillery, June 11, 1892)

(Second Lieut. of Artillery, 1st Artillery, Sept. 23, 1892)

Served: Garrison duty at Fort Wadsworth, N. Y., Oct. 1 to 24, 1892; at Fort Sheridan, Ill., to Oct. 1, 1895; on duty at the U. S. M. A., West Point, N. Y., as Instructor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Geology, Nov. 11, 1895 (on recruiting service, June to Aug., 1898) to Aug. 29, 1898, and as Assistant Instructor of Ordnance and Gunnery, Aug. 29, 1898 to ––––

(First Lieut. of Artillery, 1st Artillery, March 2, 1899)

(First Lieut., Ordnance, Sept. 29, 1899 — Declined)

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

Military History. — Unknown, no information having been received.

(Captain, Artillery Corps, May 8, 1901)

(Major, Coast Artillery Corps, March 31, 1909)

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

(William Ruthven Smith, Born April 2, 1868.)

Military History. —

Second Lieut., 1st Artillery, Sept. 23, 1892.

At Military Academy, Instructor in Department of Chemistry, Nov. 11, 1895, to Aug. 29, 1898, and Assistant Instructor, Department of Ordnance and Gunnery, Aug. 29, 1898, to

(First Lieut., 1st Artillery, March 2, 1899)

(Captain, Artillery Corps, May 8, 1901)

Aug. 10, 1901; at Fort Morgan, Ala., commanding company, Aug. 23, 1901, to Feb. 10, 1903; at U. S. Military Academy, Instructor in Department of Mathematics, Feb. 14, 1903, to June, 1907; at Fort Totten, N. Y., student officer at School of Submarine Defense, June, 1907, to Sept. 15, 1908; at Fort Monroe, Va., commanding company, Sept. 16, 1908, to

(Major, Coast Artillery Corps, March 31, 1909)

April 29, 1909, and as Field Officer, April 30, 1909, to March 15, 1911; at Washington, D. C., Assistant to Chief of Artillery, March 18, 1911, to Dec. 4, 1914; at Fort Monroe, Va., Director of Department of Engineering and Mine Defense, Coast Artillery School, and Mine Commander, December, 1914, to

(Lieut.‑Colonel, Coast Artillery Corps, July 1, 1916)

May 31, 1917; built and put in place in February, 1917, just before declaration of War against Germany, first submarine net put down in America, 2000 yards long, 84 feet at deepest point, extending from Fort Monroe to Fort Wool and closing entrance to Hampton Roads; at Washington, D. C., Assistant to Chief of Coast Artillery, June 1, to

(Colonel, Coast Artillery Corps, May 15, 1917)

(Brigadier-General, National Army, Aug. 5, 1917)

 p621  Aug. 23, 1917; assigned to 62nd Field Artillery Brigade, 37th Division, Ohio National Guard; joined command at Camp Sheridan, Ala., Aug. 25, 1917; conducted 62nd Field Artillery Brigade to Camp Upton, N. Y., and embarked it for overseas duty, June 10, 1918; remained behind by orders of War Department;

(Major-General, National Army, June 26, 1918)

joined 36th Division (Texas and Oklahoma National Guard), at Hoboken, N. J., upon its arrival at that place, July 14, 1918; sailed in command of 36th Division, July 18 and arrived in Brest, France, July 31; 36th Division assembled in Area for training; on Sept. 26 Division moved to front as part of French 4th Army under General Gouraud and engaged in Champagne Offensive in relief of Rheims, driving Germans from vicinity of Somme‑Py to banks of Aisne about Attigny and capturing over ten million dollars' worth of booty; withdrawn from line to refit, Oct. 29; after signing of Armistice, marched Division over 150 miles to Training Area near Tonnerre; in 16th Training Area, Hdqrs. at Cheney, to May, 1919, when Division moved to Le Mans, thence to Brest, and began movement to U. S. on May 25; mustered out at Camp Bowie, Texas, in July, 1919;

(Honorably Discharged as Major-General, N. A., Only,
July 15, 1919)

on leave of absence to Aug. 30; detailed to General Staff Corps Aug. 22, 1919, and assigned as Chief of Staff, Philippine Department; arrived in Philippines Nov. 21, 1919;

(Brigadier-General, U. S. A., July 2, 1920)


Distinguished Service Medal

"For exceptionally meritorious and conspicuous services as commanding general, 36th Division. By his thorough and ceaseless efforts, coupled with a keen insight into the principles of military training, he brought his division to such a high standard of discipline and proficiency as to achieve conspicuous results in a major operation without previous service under fire. The excellent conduct of his division subsequent to the signing of the armistice reflects great credit on him. His services have been of great value to the American Expeditionary Forces."

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

Military History: —

Distinguished Service Medal.

Colonel, Coast Artillery Corps, May 15, 1917.

Brigadier-General, National Army, Aug. 5, 1917.

Major-General, National Army, June 26, 1918.

Returned to Grade of Colonel, July 15, 1919.

(Detailed to General Staff Corps, Aug. 22, 1919.)

At Manila, P. I., Chief of Staff, Philippine Department, Nov. 21, 1919, to July 2, 1920;

Brigadier-General, Recess Appointment, July 2, 1920.

at Fort William McKinley, P. I., commanding post to

Recess Appointment Expired, March 4, 1921.

Brigadier-General, U. S. A., Apr. 27, 1921.

Dec., 1921, when he sailed for U. S.; at Fort Sam Houston, Tex., commanding post, Jan., 1922, to Jan., 1923; at Fort Monroe, Va., commanding 3rd Coast Artillery District and Coast Artillery School, Jan., 1923, to July 23, 1924;

Major-General, U. S. A., July 23, 1924.

at Baltimore, Md., commanding 3rd Corps Area and retaining command of 3rd Coast Artillery District and of Coast Artillery School, to Dec., 1924; at Schofield Bks., Hawaii, commanding post and Hawaiian Division, Feb., 1925, to Aug., 1927; at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, commanding Hawaiian Department, to Jan., 1927; at West Point, N. Y., Superintendent U. S. Military Academy, Feb. 26, 1928, to ––––

Croix de Guerre with palm, French; Commander of the Legion of Honor, French.

Editor's Note: Shortly after assuming the Superintendency of the United States Military Academy, General Smith saw the necessity for expanding the limits of the reservation of West Point in order to secure an adequate water supply and to provide the Academy with its own airdrome and suitable maneuver and target areas. Through his efforts and perseverance he secured the passage of the Act of Congress (Public No. 795, 71st Congress) approved Mar. 3, 1931, which provided for the purchase of approximately 15,000 acres of land to the south and west of the reservation proper.

[Supplement, Vol. VIII: 1930‑1940]

Military History: —

(Maj.‑Gen., July 23, 1924.)

At West Point, N. Y., Superintendent, U. S. M. A., Feb. 26, 1928, to Apr. 30, 1932.

(Maj.‑Gen., Ret., Apr. 30, 1932. By Operation of Law.)

The Association of Graduates gave a vote of thanks and expression of sincere appreciation of the signal services he rendered West Point as Superintendent.

Civil History: — Superintendent of the Sewanee Military Academy, Sewanee, Tenn., Aug. 1, 1932, to –––– LL. D. of Chattanooga.

Vol. IX
[Supplement, Vol. IX: 1940‑1950]

Military History: —

Maj Gen Ret 30 Apr 32

Civil History: — Supt of the Sewanee Military Academy, Sewanee Tenn, 1 Aug 32‑41.

Died, July 15, 1941: Aged 73.

Thayer's Note:

a Gen. Smith's birthplace is from the memorial article and biographical sketch at West Point Association of Graduates.

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Page updated: 9 Jan 16