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Albert Smith



Albert Smith, from Washington, Dutchess County, attended the Normal School in 1860 and 1861, but left school before graduation to run the family farm after his father died. He joined the Normal School Company in August, 1862.

During the late fall, Smith contracted typhoid fever. Because hospitals had not yet been set up, he remained with his tentmates, James Woodworth and James Sperling. Smith's condition worsened and he died in the regimental hospital on December 7, 1862, where he had been moved only a few days before his death. He was initially buried with a military funeral near camp, but his uncle came to Virginia to retrieve him for a final journey to Dutchess County. (1)

During Smith's illness, Woodworth wrote of him as follows:

"But poor Smith I wish I could say he was better. Did I ever describe him to you. I think not. I will give you his history so far as I am able to. He is 21 years old + a native of Dutchess Co near Poughkipsie on the Hudson. His Father died several years ago leaving a wife + 2 children this son + a Daughter whose name is Frances. She is younger by 2 years than Albert. His Mother is decrepid + has been for years. They have a fine property that is in the possession of Albert. He worked the farm + as he tells me had everything nice fine horses + cattle + a nice home + a good position in society. About the time that Capt Kimball sent his circular to Sidney, he (Smith) Recd one also + as he had been a pupil of our Capt. He at once determined to enlist in the Normal Co. Leaving his work to be performed by hirelings + his stock to be seen too by a neighbor he like myself volunteered to live or die for his country. He is one of the noblest fellows without any exception that I ever became acquainted with, generous to a fault + would rather do more than his share of every duty about camp than to do less. Although he is not a professor of religion he is a young man of excellent morals I never have heard him use any profane language whatever + more than that I never saw him angry. On the contrary he has always a smile for every one + a kind word for all that are disheartened. When on long marches if any one becomes so tired that they feel like throwing away their tents or blankets he has repeatedly offered to carry them, + then when night came, with its chilly frosts you can imagine how grateful they were He has always been healthy and rugged until the day before yesterday morning, he seemed dull + I joked him about his being so long preparing his breakfast but did not find out that he was feeling sick till noon. He then gave up entirely + said he was very sick." (2)

Smith's mother and sister were grateful for Woodworth's kindness to Smith during his last days, and showed their gratitude by sending Woodworth letters and boxes of food. When in Washington during March and April of 1864, Smith's sister asked Woodworth to meet her. Woodworth was interested, and asked his wife's permission to go, but we do not know if the meeting ever took place. (3)

1. Lawrence Hotchkiss Collection-Woodworth Papers. William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan (hereafter Woodworth Papers), James Woodworth to Mrs. James (Phebe) Woodworth, December 7, 1862, December 10, 1862.

2. Woodworth Papers, James Woodworth to Phebe Woodworth, November 27-28, 1862; Annual Report of the Executive Committee of the State Normal School for 1860, 1861.

3. Woodworth Papers, James Woodworth to Phebe Woodworth, March 2, 1863; March 27, 1864.

Documentation reproduced with permission of Chris Hunter and the Normal School Company website



Updated July 12, 2001