Edmund Kirby Smith
(1824-1893)

       Following the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson and the closing of the Mississippi, Confederate General E. Kirby Smith was confronted with the command of a virtually independent area of the Confederacy and with all of its inherent administrative problems. The Floridian West Pointer (1845)nicknamed "Seminole" at the academy-had been posted to the infantry upon his graduation and won two brevets in the Mexican War. In 1855 he transferred to the cavalry and served until his resignation as major in the 2nd Cavalry on April 6, 1861. In the meantime he had taught mathematics at his alma mater and been wounded in 1859 fighting Indians in the Nescutunga Valley of Texas. When Texas seceded, Smith refused to surrender his command to the state forces under Ben McCulloch.
       Joining the Confederacy, his assignments included: lieutenant colonel, Cavalry (spring 1861); chief of staff, Army of the Shenandoah (spring-summer 1861); brigadier general, CSA (June 17, 1861); commanding 4th Brigade, Army of the Shenandoah (ca. June-July 20,1861); commanding 4th Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac (July 20-21, 1861); major general, CSA (October 11, 1861); commanding 4th Division, Potomac District, Department of Northern Virginia (October 22, 1861-February 21, 1862); commanding Department of East Tennessee (March 8-August 25, ca. October 31 - December 1862, and December 23, 1862 - January 1863); commanding Army of Kentucky, Department #2 (August 25 - November 20, 1862); lieutenant general, CSA (October 9, 1862); also commanding corps, Army of Tennessee (November 20-December 1862); commanding Southwestern Army (January 14-March 7, 1863); commanding Trans-Mississippi Department (March 7, 1863-April 19, 1865 and April 22-May 26, 1865); and general, PACS (February 19, 1864).
       After serving as Joseph E. Johnston's staff head in the Shenandoah Valley he was promoted to brigadier general and given command of a brigade which he led at 1st Bull Run. Wounded severely in that action, he returned to duty as a major general and division commander in northern Virginia. Early in 1862 he was dispatched to command in East Tennessee. Cooperating with Braxton Bragg in the invasion of Kentucky, he scored a victory at Richmond and was soon named to the newly created grade of lieutenant general.
       Early in 1863 he was transferred to the Trans-Mississippi West where he remained for the balance of the war. With the fall of the Mississippi River to the Union Forces he was virtually cut off from Richmond. He was forced to deal himself with such matters as impressment of supplies, destruction of cotton to prevent capture, and blockade-running through Mexico, in addition to his normal military duties. He also, in an irregular fashion, promoted officers to general's rank, sometimes making his actions subject to the president's approval and sometimes not. Davis approved some and never acted on others. Smith could be forgiven for exceeding his authority in such matters due to the situation of his command as an almost separate country.
       In the spring of 1864 he soundly defeated Nathanial P. Banks' Red River Campaign and then dispatched reinforcements northward to defeat Steele's cooperating column in Arkansas. With the pressure relieved, Smith attempted to send reinforcements east of the Mississippi but, as in the case of his earlier attempts to relieve Vicksburg, it proved impracticable due to Union naval control of the river. Instead he dispatched Sterling Price, with all available cavalry, on an unsuccessful invasion of Missouri. Thereafter the war west of the river was principally one of small raids and guerrilla activity. By now a full general, he surrendered his department--the only significant Confederate army left--on May 26, 1865.
       After the war he was active in the telegraph business and education. At the time of his death he was the last of the full Confederate ex-generals. (Parkes, Joseph H., General Kirby Smith C.S.A.)
Source: "Who Was Who In The Civil War" by Stewart Sifakis

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