Thomas Alfred Smyth
|Thomas Alfred Smyth|
Thomas Alfred Smyth during the American Civil War
December 25, 1832|
County Cork, Ireland
|Died||April 9, 1865
|Place of burial||Brandywine Cemetery Wilmington, Delaware|
|Allegiance||United States of America
|Service/branch||United States Army
|Years of service||1861–65|
|Commands held||1st Delaware Regiment
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, II Corps
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, II Corps
2nd Division, II Corps
|Battles/wars||American Civil War
- Battle of Fredericksburg
- Battle of Chancellorsville
- Battle of Gettysburg
- Siege of Petersburg
Smyth was born in Ballyhooly in Cork County, Ireland, and worked on his father's farm as a youth. He emigrated to the United States in 1854, settling in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He participated in William Walker's expedition to Nicaragua. Smyth was employed as a wood carver and coach & carriage maker. In 1858, he moved to Wilmington, Delaware.
Civil War service
He enlisted in 1861 in the Union army in an Irish-American three-months regiment, the 24th Pennsylvania, and quickly made a captain. He was later commissioned as major of the 1st Delaware Infantry, a three-years regiment. He served at the battles of Fredericksburg (following which he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and then to colonel) and Chancellorsville. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he commanded the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division of the II Corps. During the Battle of Gettysburg, his men helped defend Cemetery Ridge and advanced to the area of the Bliss farm to oust enemy sharpshooters. Smyth was wounded on the third day of the battle and relinquished command briefly.
Smyth retained brigade command during the reorganization of II Corps before Grant's Overland Campaign. He led the second brigade of the first division from March 25 to May 17, 1864. When Col Samuel S. Carroll was wounded, Smyth was transferred to his command, the third brigade of second division, the Gibraltar Brigade. In October 1864, Smyth was promoted to brigadier general during the Siege of Petersburg. He retained his brigade throughout the siege.
Early in the Appomattox Campaign, Smyth commanded the 2nd division of the corps until Francis C. Barlow was assigned to lead it. In April 1865 at Farmville, Virginia, Smyth was shot through the mouth by a sniper, with the bullet shattering his cervical vertebra and paralyzing him. Smyth died two days later at Burke's Tavern, concurrent with the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his army at Appomattox Court House.
- Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford Univ. Press, 2001,
- Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964,
- Eicher, p. 500
- Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission staff (June 1975). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Burke's Tavern". Virginia Department of Historic Resources.