William H. Smith papers  1861-1864
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Biography

Smith, William H.

Rank : Private

Regiment : 26th Indiana Infantry Regiment (1861-1866)

Service : 1861 August-?

William H. Smith enlisted in the 26th Indiana Infantry in August, 1861, a regiment that served exclusively in the western theatre. Smith, a brickyard worker, may have enlisted in the Army to escape hard economic times as much as to fulfill his patriotic fervor. After mustering into the U.S. service at Indianapolis on August 31st, the regiment was sent to St. Louis and then into the interior of Missouri. Under John C. Fremont, they participated in the campaign on Springfield, Mo., and were then assigned to guard the Pacific Railroad line at Sedalia, Mo., until July, 1862, when they began in a long and frustrating pursuit of John Marmaduke's Confederates. The regiment engaged the enemy at Newtonia, Mo., in September, 1862, at the Battle of Prairie Grove (where they suffered substantial losses), and at Van Buren, Ark., on December 28th.

After Prairie Grove, the 26th Indiana remained on guard duty in Missouri until the following June, when they were sent to Vicksburg during the final days of the siege, and then to Port Hudson and Carrolton, La. By October, 1863, they were again on the move, being assigned to post duty at Brownsville, Tex. Upon their reenlistment in February, 1864, the regiment returned to Lousiana, where they remained until joining in the Mobile Campaign in March and April, 1865.