G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
11th MINNESOTA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: Aug./Sept. 1864
Mustered In: By companies on various dates
Mustered Out: 6/26 or 7/11/65 St. Paul, MN
With the onset of the final Federal push to end the War, as many seasoned troops as possible needed to be relieved from garrison and guard duties to fill combat ranks. In the wake of the removal of such units a number of three month and one year regiments were formed to take their places. The 11th, a one- year western theater regiment, left Minnesota on 9/20 and headed for Nashville, TN via Chicago, IL. Once in Tennessee the unit set up headquarters at Gallatin and dispatched individual companies to guard the local railroad system, an important supply lifeline for Union Gen. W.T. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign, from guerilla attacks.
Cos. E, G, and I were stationed at Gallatin, A was located at Buck Lodge, B at Edgefield Junction, C at Richland, D at Sandersville and Alexander’s bridge, H at Mitchellville and F and K at “the tunnel.” While providing guard, picket and patrol services proved wearisome duty, life was at times, spiced by a chase after local guerillas. On one occasion this involved recapture of a herd of 1,500 cattle that had been stolen by Confederate irregulars. With the surrender of the guerillas in early summer, 1865, the 11th started for home.
Total losses: 1 officer died from disease/accident, 3 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 21 enlisted men died of disease/accidents.
Residence: Anoka, MN Age: 31.4 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 8/11/64 Minneapolis, MN Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out: 6/26/65 St. Paul, MN
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Burton Smith was born 4/11/33 in Pictou County, Nova Scotia (Canada). No information is available on his birth family. Additionally, the only existing detail pertaining to his formative years is that he came to the United States in 1844. While there are no specific details pertaining to Burton’s teenaged years, it appears that as a young adult, circa 1856, he married Susan Agusta Niles (b.1835 ME or OH). While the union produced fourteen children, the names of only nine are known as of this writing: Susan (b. 1861), George W. (6/25/62*), David (2/14/64*), Charles (b. 1867), Lenna (5/10/68*), Charles A. (3/5/71*), Mary (b. 2/19/76*), Harvey (b. 12/79), and Harry B. (b. 12/22/80*). (* Denotes children living in 1898. By 1915 Harry’s name is missing from the list.)
In 1864 when the 5’7”, fair complexioned Smith entered the U.S. Army, he listed his occupation as “lumberman.” At the age of 31.4 years, he was slightly older than the 26.7 year old average Civil War combatant. Apparently his military tenure was without trauma as existing records make no reference to illness, wounding attendance or behavior problems.
The War behind him, Burton returned to Michigan where he and his family resided for the next twenty-four years. Why they removed to Snohomish County, Washington Territory circa 1880 is not known. One possible motivation was to be near adult children. However, since at death his occupation was noted as “farmer,” perhaps he was seeking new farmland.
Former Civil War private Burton Smith died 12/23/15 at the Washington Veteran’s Home located in Retsil, near Port Orchard. At death, the cause of which was listed as senile dementia and asthma, Mr. Smith had lived at the home for slightly over fifteen months. When he passed from this earth the 82.8 year old former soldier was receiving $22.50 per month from the U.S. Government based on his Civil War service. Augusta survived her husband by two years, dying on 12/22/17. When she died, Susan was receiving $20 per month of her late husband’s pension.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic
Jeremiah & Paulette Mehl
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