G.A.R. Post: Oliver Morton Post #10 Snohomish, WA
1st IOWA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Organized: 8/1/61 Davenport, IA
Mustered Out: 2/15/66
A three year, “western theater” unit, the 1st was combat-active during its entire history, but seemingly always in oft-forgotten actions that occurred “off stage” from major Civil War encounters. In this vein, many of the first fights faced by the regiment took place within the so-called “Highway to the Confederacy,” the middle and western portions of Missouri where southern recruits, sympathizers and bushwhackers were in abundance.
As an example, in mid ’62 elements of the unit clashed with and scattered William Quantrill’s band of guerillas. Summer ’62 saw the 1st move into Arkansas for the battle of Bayou Metro. The year ended in the same state with a battle at Princeton. 1864 dawned with the 1st, now a veteran regiment, taking part in the Camden Expedition in Missouri which bested troops lead by Confed. Gen. Price.
The battle of Saline River, AR came thereafter. In early 1865 elements of the 1st were ordered up the Arkansas River where they met the enemy at Dardanelle. A move to Memphis, TN was then followed by stationing in Alabama and, finally, Texas where orders for final muster were received.
Residence: Independence, IA Age: 24.7 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: Dubuque, IA Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 8/11/64
Mustered Out: 5/26/65 Memphis, TN
Highest Rank: Pvt.
George Darcourt Smith was born 5/29/39 in Machias on the northern Maine seacoast to parents John D. and Louisa E (nee Sweet) Smith. (Note: George’s death certificate names his mother as Darsia Barney) The marriage produced four children: Quinton (b.1835), George D. (1839), Josephine (b. 1842), and Charles E.P. (b. ca. 1846). Charles apparently died in infancy as he is not noted in 1850 census information.
John Smith died circa 1846/47, leaving Louisa widowed and the young Smith children fatherless. In March, 1847 Louisa remarried to James Gray who brought one child, Granville (b. ca. 1834) to the marriage. From this union came one daughter, Roxanne Shephard Gray (b.3/16/49). While there is no information on George’s teenaged years, by his mid-twenties when he joined the U.S. cavalry the 5’9” farmer was residing in Iowa. Based on Mr. Smith’s date of enlistment, very possibly it was encouraged by receipt of a financial bonus or “bounty.”
Private Smith’s fifteen months in the military appear to have been fairly benign. No wounds, serious injuries or illness, beyond a brief bout of diarrhea, were reported. Even so, in later years when applying for a disability pension from the U.S. Government based on his civil war soldiering, George pointed to loss of teeth as early as 1864 (likely from scurvy) and to chronic rheumatism affecting his back muscles and the rear of his left knee. A pension was granted. At death George was receiving a $50 per month stipend.
With the War behind him it appears George returned to Iowa and farming. On 10/9/69 in this adopted hometown of Independence, he married Sarah Larina Doolittle (b. ca. 1853 IL). Although 1910 census data indicates both may have been previously married, other available documents are silent on this issue. Through George, Sarah bore two sons, George B. and Charles D. who “died young.” A third child, daughter Rhoda S. (b.7/12 or 18/91, survived to adulthood.
George and Sarah moved from Iowa to the Snohomish area of Washington Territory around 1885. Why the couple made the move is not documented. Whatever prompted the relocation, when, Snohomish’s G.A.R. post was founded, George became a charter member and was long involved in chapter activities. In the Puget Sound area it appears Mr. Smith resumed farming until advancing age necessitated his engaging in various other “occupations while health would permit.”
George D. Smith, former Civil War trooper, died 4/11/23 at the age of 83 years and 10 months. Cause of death was listed as acute dialation of (the) heart and arteriosclerosis. By early 1941, 89 year old Sarah, who was still receiving $40 per month of her late husband’s pension, was living in Seattle in the Ballard area home of a daughter Rhoda. Rhoda requested but was denied an increase in the monthly payment. Sarah died 4/9/42 and is buried beside George.
Buried at Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Snohomish
Jeremiah & Paulette Mehl
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