Private William J. Smith was born ca. 1839 in Florida.
In 1860 he was living near Quincy, Gadsden, Florida. He resided with an older sister, 3 younger brothers and a younger sister. He was recorded as a pauper, and unable to read or write.
He enlisted on March 12th, 1862 at Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida in Captain Davidson’s Company; William stated his age as 24. He was absent sick when the company left the state, but rejoined it by June 30th, 1862.
He was assigned to detached service as a wagoner on July 20th, 1862 at Knoxville, Tennessee and service in that capacity through November 12th. He was again detached for that service from December 22nd, 1862 through February 9th, 1863.
William was present with the company from that time until April 27th, when he was detached to serve as part of a prisoner escort to Richmond, Virginia; he returned to the company on April 30th. He was present with the company from that date through December 22, 1864; during that period, he pulled police duty on the streets at Knoxville, Tennessee on August 22, 1863 and was relieved on August 23, 1863. He also suffered a pay stoppage for “ordnance stores lost” between November 1st and December 31st, 1863 in the amount of $13.30; this likely due to the Confederate defeat at Missionary Ridge on November 25th.
He was captured at Nashville, Tennessee on December 16th, 1864, and sent to the military prison at Louisville Kentucky where he arrived on December 22nd. He was transferred to the military prison at Camp Chase, Ohio, where arrived on January 4th, 1865.
William died of variola while in captivity on March 4th, 1865 and is interred at Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery, Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.