Delaware Military History
Thomas Alfred Smyth





Thomas Alfred Smyth
December 25, 1832 – April 9, 1865 (aged 32)

Thomas Alfred Smyth during the American Civil War
Place of birth        County Cork, Ireland
Place of death        Farmville, Virginia
Place of burial        Brandywine Cemetery Wilmington, Delaware
Allegiance        United States of America
Union
Service/branch        United States Army
Union Army
Years of service        1861–65
Rank        Major General
Commands held        1st Delaware Regiment
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, II Corps
2nd Brigade, 1st Division, II Corps
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, II Corps
2nd Division, II Corps
Irish Brigade
Gibraltar Brigade
Battles/wars        American Civil War
- Battle of Fredericksburg
- Battle of Chancellorsville
- Battle of Gettysburg
- Siege of Petersburg

Thomas Alfred Smyth (December 25, 1832 – April 9, 1865) was a major general in the Union
Army during the American Civil War. He was the last Union general killed in the war.

Early life
Smyth was born in Ballyhooly in Cork County, Ireland, and worked on his father's farm
as a youth. He emigrated to the United States in 1854, settling in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. He participated in William Walker's expedition to Nicaragua. Smyth was
employed as a wood carver and coach & carriage maker.[1] In 1858, he moved to
Wilmington, Delaware.

Civil War service
He enlisted in 1861 in the Union army in an Irish-American three-months regiment, the
24th Pennsylvania, and quickly made a captain. He was later commissioned as major of the
1st Delaware Infantry, a three-years regiment. He served at the battles of Fredericksburg
(following which he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and then to colonel) and
Chancellorsville. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he commanded the 2nd Brigade, 3rd
Division of the II Corps. During the Battle of Gettysburg, his men helped defend Cemetery
Ridge and advanced to the area of the Bliss farm to oust enemy sharpshooters. Smyth was
wounded on the third day of the battle and relinquished command briefly.

Smyth retained brigade command during the reorganization of II Corps before Grant's
Overland Campaign. He led the second brigade of the first division from March 25 to May
17, 1864. When Col Samuel S. Carroll was wounded, Smyth was transferred to his
command, the third brigade of second division, the Gibraltar Brigade. In October 1864,
Smyth was promoted to brigadier general during the Siege of Petersburg. He retained his
brigade throughout the siege.

Early in the Appomattox Campaign, Smyth commanded the 2nd division of the corps until
Francis C. Barlow was assigned to lead it. In April 1865 at Farmville, Virginia, Smyth was
shot through the mouth by a sniper, with the bullet shattering his cervical vertebra and
paralyzing him. Smyth died two days later, concurrent with the surrender of Robert E. Lee
and his army at Appomattox Court House. He was promoted posthumously to brevet
major general. Smyth was the last Union general killed or mortally wounded during the
war, and is buried in Brandywine Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.

References

Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford Univ. Press,
2001,ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1964,
ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.