Friday, February 12, 2016

General Edmund Kirby Smith -- A Biography

[Editor's note: The Florida State Legislature has voted to remove General Edmund Kirby Smith's statue from statuary hall in the capitol at Washington, D.C. Here is biography from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Hugh Chisholm, ed. (1911), "Smith, Edmund Kirby", 25 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 260.What a shame.]

General Edmund Kirby Smith
(Library of Congress)
SMITH, EDMUND KIRBY (1824-1893), Confederate general
in the American Civil War, was the son of Joseph Lee Smith
(1776-1846), an American lawyer and soldier, who served with
credit in the War of 181 2 and rose to the rank of colonel U.S.A.
His elder brother, Ephraim Kirby Smith (1807-1847), also a
soldier, fell at Molino del Rey; and Joseph Lee Kirby Smith,
Ephraim's son, who took the Federal side in the Civil War, was
mortally wounded at the battle of Corinth, having at the age of
twenty-six attained the rank of brevet-colonel U.S.A. Edmund
Kirby Smith was born at St Augustine, Fla., on the 16th of
May 1824, and graduated at West Point in 1845, being assigned
to the infantry. In the Mexican War he was breveted first
lieutenant, and captain for gallantly at Vera Cruz and Cerro
Gordo and at Contreras-Churubusco. He was assistant pro-
fessor of mathematics at West Point from 1849 to 1852 and
was later engaged in Indian warfare on the Texas frontier. In
1861 he attained the rank of major. When Florida seceded he
resigned his army commission and entered the Confederate service
as a lieutenant-colonel. He was made a brigadier-general on
the 17th of June 1861, and was wounded at the battle of Bull
Run iq.v.). In command of the Confederate forces in the Cumber-
land Gap region Kirby Smith took part in General Bragg's
invasion of Kentucky in the autumn of 1862, and inflicted upon
the Federal forces a severe defeat at Richmond, Ky., on the
30lh of August; and was present at the battles of Perryville
and Murfrecsboro (Stone River). From February 1863 to the
fall of the Confederacy he was in command of the trans-Missis-
sippi department, and was successful in making this section of
the Confederacy (isolated from the rest by the fall of Vicksburg)
self-supporting. He instituted a regular system of blockade-
running, and met and defeated the Red River expedition under
General N. P. Banks in 1864. Kirby Smith and his troops
surrendered on the 26th of May 1865, being the last armed forces
of the Confederate States to do so. After the war, he was from
1866 to 1868 president of the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph
company, from 1868 to 1870 president of the Western Military
.Academy, from 1870 to 1S75 chancellor of the university of
Nashville, and from 1875 to his death professor of mathematics
at the university of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. He died at
Sewanee on the 28th of March 1893. 

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