June 3, 2011

Ira Ellis Caspar Wistar Smith and Columus Darwin Smith: Confederate cavalry.



With the recent Memorial Day and the History Channel's presentation of Civil War Week in honor of the 150th anniversary I thought I'd contribute two posts I made back in 2007 on the old site.

Soapy Smith had two uncles that served in the Confederate Cavalry. They were Ira Ellis Caspar Wistar Smith and Columbus Darwin "Lum" Smith. Both survived the war.

(In regards to Ira Ellis Caspar Wistar Smith please
see June 9, 2011 and June 16, 2011)

Ira Ellis Caspar Wistar Smith
01/22/1840 - 08/17/1903

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Ira was 20-years-old at the start of the Civil War. He joined the Confederacy under Colonel William Phillip's Legion Cavalry Battalion, Company D. They became known as the Coweta Rangers.

Phillips' Georgia Legion was organized during the summer of 1861 and mustered into Confederate service that fall. Like almost all Confederate Legions, the unit contained infantry companies, cavalry companies and a battery of light artillery. It had originally been thought that legions would operate with all three arms of the service together ( similar to the Combat Team of the Second World War), but it was soon found that the unit operated more efficiently with its elements detached. Phillips' Georgia Legion served with its elements separated from each other after July of 1862 .

Phillips' Georgia Legion's Cavalry Battalion was organized in 1861 with four companies (G,H,I & K). It was expanded during the spring of 1862 with the addition of two newly recruited companies (N & P). It served as a six company battalion until May, 1864, when the four company 4th Alabama Cavalry Battlion was attached to the Legion Cavalry. (Technically, under Confederate War Department regulations, the unit should have received a Confederate States designation once it contained companies from more than one state but here is no record that this ever took place.) The 4th Alabama Cavalry Battalion was reassigned to the Jeff Davis Legion Cavalry on July 11th, 1864 but the order was not carried out until November. At the same time that the 4th Alabama Battalion was reassigned, a "spare" 11th company from the Cobb Legion Cavalry was transferred to the Phillips Legion and became Co G.

Like almost all Civil War units, Phillips' Legion's Cavalry Battalion was often known by an alternate designation derived from the name of its commanding officer. Name of this type used by or for the unit are:
John B Willcoxon's Cavalry
William W. Rich's Cavalry
William B.C. Puckett's Cavalry

Phillip's Legion, Georgia Volunteers --- Col. William Phillip's in command.
Cavalry Battalion - Lt. Col. William Wofford Rich
Company G/A. - "DuBignon Cavalry" or "Governor's House Guards" - Charles DuBignon (resigned August 1862), James Hall Nichols - Cobb, Hall and Baldwin Counties.
Company H/B - Johnson Rangers" - William Wofford Rich, John F. Milhollin (KIA November 1863), Thomas G. Wilkes-Cobb and Bartow Counties
Company I/C - "Cherokee Dragoons" - William B.C. Puckett, Eli C. Hardin -Cherokee County.
Company K/D -" Coweta Rangers" - Dr. Robert Leeper Young Long (resigned April 1864), John B. Willcoxon (resigned 7/3/1862), Hugh Buchanon - Coweta, Carroll and Bibb Counties.
Company N/E (mustered in 5/12/1862) - "Bibb Cavalry" - Samuel Scott Dunlap, Arthur F.Hunter - Bibb County.
Company P/F (mustered in 5/16/1862) - Wesley Wiles Thomas - Coweta, Henry, Newton and Carroll Counties
Company G - "Richmond Dragoons" - F. Edgeworth Eve - Richmond County

(The above information on Phillips Legion comes from Randy's Texas)

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Ira survived the war and became a doctor. He married once and had nine children. He died at home in 1903. He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan, Georgia. His grave includes a marker for his military service. If you are so inclined you may leave virtual flowers and a comment on his online grave site at Find A Grave, HERE.


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Columbus Darwin "Lum" Smith 
08/22/1828 - 01/12/1911

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Soapy's uncle, Columbus was 33 at the start of the Civil War. He volunteered in the 2nd Regiment, Company F (Cavalry) under Commander Thomas M. Jones, known as the Georgia State Guards and the Coweta Cavalry. Company F was organized in August 1863 as a six month service for local defense. He made the rank of Second Lieutenant. I could not find anything more on his regiment and company.


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Columbus, like Ira, survived the war and became a doctor. He married twice and had three children that I know of. He died in Atlanta in 1911 and is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Newnan, Georgia. His grave includes a marker for his military service.


(Click image to enlarge)



If you are so inclined you may leave virtual flowers and a comment on his online grave site at Find A Grave, HERE.


* If you have more information to share about Ira Ellis Caspar Wistar Smith and Columbus Darwin Smith please leave a comment or email me.

Jeff Smith













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