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Thomas Kilby Smith

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Born at Boston, Mass., 23 Sept., 1820; died at New York, 14 Dec., 1887; eldest son of Captain George Smith and Eliza Bicker Walter. Both his paternal and maternal forefathers were active and prominent in the professional life and in the government of New England. His parents moved to Cincinnati in his early childhood, where he was educated in a military school under O. M. Mitchel, the astronomer, and studied law in the office of Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. In 1853 he was appointed special agent in the Post Office Department at Washington, and later marshal for the Southern District of Ohio and deputy clerk of Hamilton County. He entered the Union Army, 9 September, 1861, as lieutenant-colonel, and was conspicuous in the Battle of Shiloh, 6 and 7 April, 1862, assuming command of Stuart's Brigade, Sherman's Division, during the second day. As commander of brigade in the 15th and 17th Army Corps, he participated in all the campaigns of the Army of the Tennessee, being also for some months on staff duty with General Grant.

Commissioned Brigadier-General of Volunteers, 11 August, 1863, he was assigned on 7 March, 1864, to the command of the detached division of the 17th Army Corps and rendered distinguished service during the Red River Expedition, protecting Admiral Porter's fleet after the disaster of the main army. After the fall of Mobile, he assumed the command of the Department of Southern Alabama and Florida, and then of the Post and District of Maine. He was brevetted Major-General for gallant and meritorious service. In 1866 President Johnson appointed him United States Consul at Panama. After the war he removed to Torresdale, Philadelphia. At the time of his death he was engaged in journalism in New York. On 2 May, 1848, he married Elizabeth Budd, daughter of Dr. William Budd McCullough and Arabella Sanders Piatt, of Cincinnati, Ohio. She was a gifted and devout woman, and through her influence and that of the venerable archbishop Purcell he became a Catholic some years before his death. He was remarkable for his facility of expression, distinguished personal appearance, and courtly bearing. He left five sons and three daughters.


SMITH, Life and Letters of Thomas Kilby Smith (New York, 1898).

About this page

APA citation. Smith, W.G. (1912). Thomas Kilby Smith. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Smith, Walter George. "Thomas Kilby Smith." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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