Civil War Profile
Albert Ferdinand Smith
Herkimer County, New York
Contributed by Susanne Wile
Little is known about Albert Ferdinand Smith's life prior to the Civil War. Military records indicate he was born in Washington, Daviess County, Indiana. His birth date is believed to be May 17, 1837.
The first record connecting Albert to Little Falls, New York, is his marriage certificate. He married Mary E. Shaffer on 18 November 1858, in Little Falls. He became the father of two children. His first son, Edward E. Smith, was born 17 March 1861, in Little Falls. His second son, Albert H. Smith, who he never saw, was born either 16 or 28 October, 1863 in the Village of Mohawk Town, German Flatts.
In the 1860 U.S. Census, he and his wife, Mary, are living in Little Falls near her father and family. His occupation is listed as printer.
War department records indicate that he was 24 years old when he first enlisted at Little Falls on 28 September 1861, and mustered in 2 October, 1861, at Watertown, to serve three years. He was assigned to Company A, 1st Regiment, New York Light Artillery, under command of Captain Thomas H. Bates. The family story, passed down through several generations, is that he enlisted in order to receive a bounty. From muster in to discharge he held the rank of private. His service record indicates that most of his service was spent in the vicinity of Richmond, Virginia.
Information about Battery A of the 1st Light Artillery shows that the company was organized at Utica, NY, and accepted October 9, 1861. It went to Baltimore via Harrisburg, and from there to Camp Barry, Washington D.C. for artillery instruction. On 22 March 1861, it was attached to General Casey's division (4th corps) which embarked at Alexandria, VA, 1 April 1862 and landed at Newport News, near Fortress Monroe, where it joined the Army of the Potomac. Because Albert's records for this enlistment show him to be sick in the Patent Office Hospital in Washington D.C., on 28 February, 1862, it is not known if he left Washington with his battery.
He was assigned from Co. A, 1st NY Light Artillery per Order 173, dated June 7, 1862, by General McClellan and transferred to the 7th N Y Volunteer Independent Battery.
The Roll then shows him again to be sick on 30 June 1862, and left in the hospital at Bottoms Bridge, Virginia, with the note that he was probably taken prisoner.
The Roll, dated 21 August 1862, indicates his battery was imprisoned at Salisbury, North Carolina, to October 31, 1862, at which time he was paroled. On December 31, 1862, he was at the parole camp in Alexandria, Virginia.
Prisoner of War records show him paroled at City Point, Virginia, with remarks wounded, date not given. He was sent to Washington, 26 September 1862, and shown to be present at Camp Banks (Alexandria, Virginia) 17 November 1862. He received a Surgeon's Certificate of Discharge on 26 December, 1862, for "varicose veins of the left leg affected previous to entering the army." On 7 January 1863, he was discharged at Camp Banks, Alexandria, Virginia, and began his journey home to New York.
On Thursday, 27 August 1863, at 11:00, a draft was held for Herkimer County. Albert's name was one of 190 drawn to represent the town of German Flatts. On 29 October 1863, Albert was drafted for three years or duration of the war, at Watertown, New York, to serve in Company E, 100th Regiment, New York Volunteers/Infantry, commanded by Captain Lynch. Albert died 14 May, 1864 in Virginia. After his death, a certificate was sent to his widow indicating that Albert was killed by a sharpshooter, in or near Bermuda Hundred/Ft. Darling (near Richmond, Virginia.) His death was caused "by being shot in the breast, he surviving only a short time after being taken off the field." He was one of five enlisted men killed in his regiment. Information regarding his burial is not known.
The primary objective of the Bermuda Hundred campaign, led by Union Major General Benjamin Butler against Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, was to cut the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad line thereby causing a break in the southern supply line. The campaign was a failure. Albert F. Smith's regiment spent the entire day of May 14th, from 8:00 a.m. until near midnight, under heavy fire from both artillery and infantry. The men operated mostly as skirmishers during the day and drove the enemy back within their defenses, repelled several charges, took several prisoners, and held the ground until they were relieved. The regiment had one commissioned officer killed and three wounded, five enlisted men killed and thirty wounded.
"The following letter was written in response to my gg-grandmother's quest to have her widow's pension reinstated. I believe it was written to an attorney."
General headquarters-State of new York
Adjutant General's Office
Bureau of Records of the War of the Rebellion
Albany, July 1, 1908
Mr. Howard Abrams
4819 Willow St.
I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 29th ult. and to inform you in reply that the records of this office show the following:
Albert F. Smith, private Battery A, 1st N.Y. Vol. Light Artillery--Enlisted Sept. 28, 1861, at Little Falls; transferred to the 7th N.Y. Vol.Independent Battery June 7, 1862. No further record.
Albert F. Smith, private Co. E, 100th N.Y. Vol. Infantry--Enlisted Aug. 27, 1862, at Watertown, killed by sharpshooter May 14, 1864, near Fort Darling, Va.
For his final record in the 7th N.Y. Battery you should apply to The Adjutant General, War Department, Washington D.C.
Chief of Bureau
Mary E. Shaffer (Smith, Marshall, Miles). 1841 - 1917.
Albert Henry Smith, son of Albert F. Smith and Mary E. Shaffer. 1863 - 1942.
Albert Ferdinand Smith's profile was written and contributed by his great-great-granddaughter, Susanne Wile. If you have information to share with her about Albert, his family, or the service of his companies in the Civil War, she'd love to hear from you.