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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1833

Vol. I

(Born Va.)

Francis H. Smith

(Ap'd Va.)


Francis Henney Smith: Born Oct. 18, 1812, Norfolk, VA.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, Sep. 1, 1829, to July 1, 1833, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., 1st Artillery, July 1, 1833.

Second Lieut., 1st Artillery, Nov. 30, 1833.

Served: in garrison at Ft. Trumbull, Ct., 1833, — Williamsport, Md., 1833‑34, — Ft. McHenry, Md., 1834, — and Ft. Severn, Md., 1834; at the Military Academy, as Asst. Professor of Geography, History, and Ethics, Oct. 23, 1834, to Nov. 8, 1835; and on Ordnance duty, Feb. 9 to Apr. 30, 1836.

Resigned, May 1, 1836.

Civil History. — Professor of Mathematics, Hampden Sidney College, Va., 1837‑39. Superintendent (with the rank of Colonel), and Professor of Mathematics, Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington, Va., 1839‑61. President of the Board of Visitors to the U. S. Military Academy, 1856. Translator, from the French, of "Biot's Analytical Geometry," 1840. Author of works on Arithmetic, 1845 and 1846; on Algebra, 1848; on the "Best Methods of Conducting Common Schools," 1849; on "College Reform," 1850; and Report to the Legislature of Virginia on "Scientific Education in Europe," 1859. Degree of A. M. conferred by Hampden Sidney College, Va., 1838.

Joined in the Rebellion of 1861‑66 against the United States.​a

Civil History. — Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va., Oct. 16, 1865 (when instruction at the School was resumed), to Jan. 1, 1890, and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, Moral and Political Philosophy, Jan. 1 to Mar. 21, 1890.

Died, Mar. 21, 1890, at Lexington, Va.: Aged 78.

Buried, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, VA.

Thayer's Note:

a As with other Confederate officers, Cullum's Register omits his war record, which in his case was simple: he kept on directing the Virginia Military Institute, then evacuated it when it was attacked on June 12, 1864 by vastly superior and better equipped Union forces under the command of Gen. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.David Hunter. Much of the physical plant of the school was destroyed, including books and laboratory equipment, the houses of its teachers, and other non-military targets; the razzia has become known as "Hunter's raid". See Superintendent Smith's letter of June 17, 1864.

After the war, Smith was in the forefront of those who would have full reconciliation of North and South. His classmate and friend, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.George Cullum, who had been Superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy in that same year 1864, at first refused his overtures, but finally relented, and Smith gave a memorable talk at West Point, with Cullum and most of their surviving classmates from both sides of the War, on the 15th anniversary of Hunter's raid; it is onsite and links to further, exhaustive information on Smith.

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Page updated: 28 Apr 20