Gen. Charles Ferguson Smith: Teacher of Civil War Generals
Thursday, March 24, 2016 | 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Presented by author, educator, and historian Allen Mesch.
From the training field at West Point to the entrenchments at Fort Donelson, Charles Ferguson Smith was the soldier's soldier. Shelby Foote said, "He was Regular Army to the shoe-soles." During his nearly forty-two year career, General Smith was a teacher, mentor, and role model for many young officers who became prominent Civil War generals. Smith served at the US Military Academy from 1829 to 1842 as Instructor of Tactics, Adjutant to the Superintendent, and Commandant of Cadets. He earned the respect and admiration of his former students and future officers including Grant, Halleck, Longstreet, and Sherman. Grant considered "General Scott and Captain C. F. Smith, the Commandant of Cadets, as the two men most to be envied in the nation. I retained a high regard for both of them up to the day of their death."
His moment of glory came when he directed a charge on the Rebel works at Fort Donelson. General George Cullum portrayed Smith as "the very model of a soldier, calm, prudent, and self-poised, yet, in the hour of danger, bold almost to rashness." The capture of the Confederate rifle pits helped convince General Simon Buckner to surrender "unconditionally" the following day. The Union victory was an important turning point in the war and led to Grant's rise to fame. When communication problems occurred between Grant and Halleck, Smith led the Union advance down the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing.
Allen Mesch is an author, educator, and historian. Allen's talk is based on his biography, Teacher of Civil War Generals - Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant. The work draws on previously unpublished letters and diaries of the distinguished officer.
Allen teaches classes on the Civil War at Collin College. He has visited over 132 Civil War sites and shares his over 4,000 photographs through his web site Civil War Journeys (http://www.civil-war-journeys.org). Mr. Mesch writes a Civil War blog called Salient Points (http://salient-points.blogspot.com) and reviews books for the Civil War Courier. Allen earned his master's degree from MIT and his bachelors from Clarkson University. Please see Allen's web site, www.AllenMesch.com, for more information..
March 24, 2016 | 7:00 pm | 2nd Floor meeting room
All programs are free and open to the public.
For more information call 270-442-2510 ext. 117 or visit mclib.net/evenings