Algernon Smith

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Algernon Emory Smith
Born (1842-09-17)September 17, 1842
New York
Died June 25, 1876(1876-06-25) (aged 33)
Buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1862–1876
Rank 1st Lieutenant
Unit 7th U.S. Cavalry

American Civil War

Indian Wars

Algernon Emory Smith (September 17, 1842 – June 25, 1876) was an officer in the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment who was killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the Montana Territory.

Smith was born in the state of New York, where he attended Hamilton College. In June 1862, during the American Civil War, he enlisted in Company K, 7th U.S. Infantry Regiment. He became a lieutenant in the 117th New York Volunteer Infantry until October 1863 when he was assigned to Maj. Gen. Alfred Terry as an aide-de-camp. He was severely wounded at Fort Fisher in January 1865. He was later breveted to major for his actions in the war.

After the war, in 1867, Smith joined the 7th U.S. Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer. He soon became friends with Custer, and was part of the so-called "Custer Clan" or "Custer Gang" of close-knit friends and relatives of the general. Custer called him "Fresh" Smith, the opposite of "Salty" Smith. He married Nettie B. Bowen on October 10, 1867, at her home in Newport, New York.

Smith served in the 1868 Washita Campaign, seeing his first action against the Native Americans. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on December 5, 1868. He participated in most the 7th Cavalry's campaigns, including the 1873 Yellowstone campaign and as assistant quartermaster in the 1874 Black Hills expedition. Although the 1st lieutenant of Company A, Smith was named as assigned to command Company E, whose commander was at Fort Leavenworth, and was killed as a result in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

His body was not found among his men, but instead was discovered with Custer in the small knot of dead troops on "Last Stand Hill." Smith was given a hasty burial on the battlefield. He was re-interred in 1877 in the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[1]

His widow survived until 1903.