William A. and Junius S. Smith papers  1862-1865
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Biography

Smith, William Augustus, ca. 1830-1863

Rank : Lt., Capt. (Jan. 1863)

Regiment : 22nd Michigan Infantry Regiment. Co. H (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 August 11-1863 October 11

Smith, Junius S., b. ca. 1843

Rank : Private

Regiment : 22nd Michigan Infantry Regiment. Co. H (1862-1865)

Service : 1862 August 11-1865 June 26

Brothers from Marion (near Howell), Mich., Gus and June Smith both enlisted in the 22nd Michigan Infantry in August, 1862. Gus, the elder, was appointed Lieutenant of Co. H, with June serving as a Corporal in the same company. With little time to prepare, the 22nd was ordered into Kentucky in September, 1862, to shore up the federal presence, but by then the region was comparatively calm. They served in various locations including Lexington and Cynthiana, seldom seeing even the threat of action, though they did suffer continual morbidity from heat, poor water, and disease.

An avid soldier, Gus evinced an almost constant concern for his "family" -- the men in his company -- and worried that the regiment was not getting a chance to do their part in securing victory. For him, Kentucky was too quiet, though not so quiet that he was unable to earn a promotion to Captain in January, 1863. After two small engagements at Danville and Hickman's Bridge, Ky., in March, 1863, the regiment was ordered into Tennessee, but even though they were closer to the great scenes of action, prospects for the regiment to make a serious military impact still seemed dim. Watching from the comparatively safe confines of Nashville in May, 1863, Gus complained that "Grant is giving the curses H__ (supply the word) down below, and if they will only let us, we will give em the same here" (1863 May 22-25).

The chance to give the enemy hell proved a bitter pill for the Smith brothers. When the 22nd finally entered their first large-scale battle, it was in the horrendous defeat at Chickamauga. On the second day of the battle, as part of the reserve corps under the command of Gen. Walter Whitaker, the 22nd Michigan were ordered by Gordon Granger into support of George Henry Thomas, "The Rock of Chickamauga." This impromptu decision by Granger salvaged the left flank of the army, but at a terrible price. Both Smith brothers were badly wounded. June remained hospitalized for several weeks before returning to duty with the 22nd, which participated in the Atlanta Campaign and thereafter in reserve in Georgia and Tennessee. Gus paid a higher price. He died of his wounds in Nashville on October 11, and was buried in the National Cemetery at Chattanooga, grave number 1110.