John Harrison Smith

John Harrison Smith

Civil War (Union) · US Army


    The following account of the life of John Harrison Smith is taken from the “Boone County News," of May 15th, 1862: —

    “There is one among the number of those we have mentioned whose life has been rather an eventful one, and we will mention a few of the more important events in which he took part. We speak of John Harrison Smith. He was born in Burlington, Vt., where he was reared.  At the commencement of the Mexican War he enlisted as a private, and went through the whole campaign, discharging his duties with fidelity and zeal. He was at the battle of Cherubusco, the storming of Molino del Rey, Chepultepec, and city of Mexico—four of the most desperate and bloody battles of that sanguinary war. After receiving an honorable discharge, he returned to his business, married, and settled down a quiet and honored citizen. But when the flag of his country was assailed by those who should have been the first to have died in its support, he laid aside the implements of his peaceful avocation, and flew to the defense of that glorious old flag that he had battled for so nobly in Mexico. He was made sergeant of Company E, Third Iowa Infantry, and was with that company and took active part in the battle of Blue Mills last fall. He went to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., and on the 6th of April yielded up his life upon the altar of his country. He fell in the prime of life, full of vigor and manhood; but he died as a patriot soldier, fighting for the liberties of freemen and the laws of his country.”  He was well educated. His father-in-law, John S. Beales, lives in Madison Township. This soldier died, aged 34, leaving a wife and four children. He writes to his elder son:—

    “Camp in Tennessee, March 25, 1862.

    “My dear Son,—I received two letters from you, which pleased me very much. I am glad that you have paid so much attention to your school, and I hope that you may continue to do so. I can read your letters, and feel proud to think that my dear son wrote them. “You must pay strict attention to study, so that you may become a great and useful man. Your claim to be President of the United States is just as good as anybody’s, if you but fit yourself for that position. It all lies with you whether you will be a great scholar or not. I want you to be very careful what example you set before your brother and sisters. A great deal depends on you. “My dear son, I expect when I come home to hear that you have been a good boy. Give my love to Henry, and tell him to be good and obey his mother. Give my love to your dear little sisters, and kiss them for me. Tell them to be good children, and pa will come home some time, if he lives through the terrible war.  “My dear boy, I expect you to help your mother all you can in my absence. You must stay at home with her. Be dutiful and obedient to her who has been left alone with you till my return.”