War Date Letter Signed
Smith has just been promoted to brigadier general and wants alterations made to his uniform
(1824-1903) Known in the army as "Baldy," he graduated in the West Point class of 1845 ranking #4. As an engineer officer he spent his years before the Civil War in a variety of surveys and exploration duties, as an instructor at the Military Academy, and as a member and secretary of the lighthouse board. In July 1861, he was appointed colonel of the 3rd Vermont Infantry and saw action at the 1st battle of Bull Run. On August 13th of that year he was promoted to brigadier general. He commanded a division of the 6th Corps in the Peninsular and Antietam campaigns, and commanded the corps in the battle of Fredericksburg. Sent to the western theatre, he was chief engineer of the Department of the Cumberland and later held the same position in the Military Division of the Mississippi. Praised by Grant, Sherman and Thomas, he made a valuable contribution to the assault on Missionary Ridge. Grant brought him east in 1864 and gave him command of the 18th Corps of Butler's Army of the James. His corps was later attached to the Army of the Potomac in time to take part in the bloody battle at Cold Harbor, and in the Petersburg campaign.
War Date Letter Signed: 7 3/4 x 9 7/8, in ink.
Camp Lyon, Wash.[ington], Sept. 2nd, 1861
Messrs. R., S. & T,
I send my uniform coat & pants to be altered, enclosing the shoulder straps. Please have the alteration made at your earliest convenience and return them promptly to the same address as before.
Wm. F. Smith
Very fine. Interesting early war letter. General Smith had recently been promoted to rank of brigadier general and he is no doubt sending his uniform coat and new shoulder straps to the tailor to have his coat altered.
WBTS Fact: Camp Lyon, also known as Fort Lyon, was located south of Alexandria, Virginia, and was part of the fortifications that protected Washington, D.C. during the Civil War.