Edmund Kirby Smith - Facts

May 16, 1824 - March 28, 1893

Key facts about Kirby Smith, the last of the Confederacy's seven full general's to pass away after the American Civil War.

Advertisements

Full Name:

  • Edmund Kirby Smith

Birth Date:

  • May 16, 1824

Birth Location:

  • St. Augustine, Florida

Parents:

  • Joseph Lee Smith and Frances (Kirby) Smith

Education:

  • United States Military Academy (1845)

Occupation:

  • Military officer
  • Business executive
  • Educator

Career Summary:

  • Major (USA)
  • General (CSA)
  • President of the Accident Insurance Company
  • President of the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company
  • Co-chancellor of the University of Nashville
  • Professor of mathematics at the University of the South

Spouse:

  • Cassie Seldon (1861)

Nickname(s):

  • Seminole

Place of Death:

  • Sewanee, Tennessee

Date of Death:

  • March 28, 1893

Place of Burial:

  • Sewanee, Tennessee, on the campus of the University of the South

Significance:

  • Kirby Smith was the third child and second son of Connecticut natives Joseph Lee Smith and Frances (Kirby) Smith.
  • Kirby Smith’s grandfather, Ephraim Kirby, served as an officer in George Washington’s army during the American Revolution.
  • Kirby Smith’s father, Joseph Lee Smith served as a lieutenant colonel in the War of 1812, and a U.S. district judge in Florida.
  • In 1836, Kirby Smith’s parents sent him to Hollowell’s preparatory school in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • In 1841, Kirby Smith received an appointment to the United States Military Academy.
  • While attending the United States Military Academy, Kirby Smith acquired the nickname “Seminole” due to his native state.
  • Kirby Smith graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1845, twenty-fifth in his class.
  • Kirby Smith’s older brother, Ephraim graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1826.
  • Kirby Smith entered the U.S. Army as a brevet second lieutenant in the 5th Infantry on July 1, 1845.
  • Kirby Smith saw extensive action in the Mexican-American War.
  • Kirby Smith was promoted to second lieutenant in the Seventh Infantry on August 22, 1846.
  • Kirby Smith received a brevet promotion to first lieutenant for “gallant and meritorious conduct” in the battle of Cerro Gordo on April 18, 1847.
  • Kirby Smith received a brevet promotion to captain for his service at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, on August 20, 1847.
  • Kirby Smith’s older brother, Ephraim was killed during the Mexican-American War at the Battle of Molino del Rey (September 8, 1847).
  • Kirby Smith was an assistant professor of mathematics at the United States Military Academy from 1849 to 1852.
  • Kirby Smith was promoted to first lieutenant On March 9, 1851.
  • Kirby Smith was promoted to captain and assigned to the 2nd U.S. Cavalry on March 3, 1855.
  • Kirby Smith was wounded while fighting Comanche Indians in the Nescutunga Valley of Texas in 1859.
  • On January 31, 1861, Smith was promoted to major and placed in command of Camp Colorado in Texas.
  • When the American Civil War began, Kirby Smith refused to surrender Camp Colorado to Colonel Henry E. McCulloch’s Texas Militia forces.
  • Kirby Smith resigned from the U.S. Army on April 6, 1861.
  • Kirby Smith entered the Confederate Army as a lieutenant colonel and served as General Joseph Johnston’s chief of staff at Harpers Ferry, Virginia during the organization of Confederate troops in the Shenandoah Valley.
  • On June 17, 1861, Smith was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of the 4th brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah.
  • Kirby Smith was seriously wounded in the neck and shoulder during the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861).
  • Kirby Smith married Cassie Seldon on September 21, 1861. During their thirty-two year marriage, the couple produced five sons and six daughters.
  • Kirby Smith he was promoted to major general, on October 11, 1861, and assigned to he command the District of East Tennessee.
  • During General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Heartland Campaign, Kirby Smith commanded the Confederate victory at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky (August 30, 1862).
  • During General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Heartland Campaign, Kirby Smith occupied Lexington, Kentucky unopposed on September 2, 1862.
  • Confederate officials promoted Kirby Smith to the rank of lieutenant general on October 9, 1862.
  • On March 7, 1863, Confederate Officials placed Kirby Smith in command of the Trans-Mississippi Department, which included Arkansas, Texas, and western Louisiana.
  • Kirby Smith’s Trans-Mississippi Department was also known as Trans-Mississippi Department “Kirby Smithdom” because of Smith’s near autonomy in the area.
  • On February 19, 1864, the Confederate government promoted Kirby Smith to the rank of full general.
  • Kirby Smith repulsed Union General Nathaniel Banks’s Red River Campaign in early 1864.
  • Kirby Smith repulsed Union Major General Frederick Steele’s Camden Expedition into Arkansas in early 1864.
  • In August 1964, Kirby Smith sent Major General Sterling Price and 12,000 soldiers designated as the Army of Missouri on an ill-advised and disastrous raid into Missouri.
  • At the conclusion of the Civil War, Kirby Smith surrendered his command to General Edward R. S. Canby at Baton Rouge, Louisiana on May 26, 1865.
  • Kirby Smith’s command was the last major Confederate force to concede at the end of the Civil War.
  • At the conclusion of the Civil War, Kirby Smith traveled to Galveston, Texas and then fled to Mexico and Cuba to avoid being prosecuted for treason.
  • Kirby Smith signed an oath of amnesty on November 14, 1865.
  • Kirby Smith served briefly as president of the Accident Insurance Company in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1866.
  • Kirby Smith served as president of the Pacific and Atlantic Telegraph Company from 1866 to 1868.
  • In 1868, Kirby Smith founded a school in New Castle, Kentucky, but it burned the following year.
  • In 1870 Kirby Smith and fellow Confederate General Bushrod Johnson were named co-chancellors of the University of Nashville. Smith and Johnson also managed the Montgomery Bell Academy preparatory school for boys.
  • In 1875, Kirby Smith was named professor of mathematics at the University of the South at Sewanee, in Tennessee. He remained on the faculty there for the rest of his life.
  • Kirby Smith died in Sewanee, Tennessee on March 28, 1893.
  • Kirby Smith was buried at Sewanee, Tennessee, on the campus of the University of the South.
  • Smith was the Confederacy’s last full general to die.
Advertisements

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Edmund Kirby Smith - Facts
  • Coverage May 16, 1824 - March 28, 1893
  • Author
  • Keywords Edmund Kirby Smith
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 30, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
GET THE BEST OF AMERICAN HISTORY CENTRAL DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX!
SIGN UP
By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to receive news, offers, updates, and additional information from R.Squared Communications, LLC and American History Central. Easy unsubscribe links are included in every email.
CLOSE [X]