Capt Sebree Smith

Capt Sebree Smith

Missouri, USA
Death 5 Jul 1901 (aged 50)
Catonsville, Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec: 1, Site: 107-C
Memorial ID 49318557 · View Source
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Captain Sebree SmithH son of Calvin and Agnes Smith, was born on June 21st, 1851, at Smithville, Missouri. His father was from New England, his mother was a Virginian.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, his father, who owned a large number of slaves, was amongst the first to set his slaves free and to declare for the Union and against secession. Sebree, then a small boy, caught up the spirit of his father, and in his enthusiasm hoisted a Union flag on the top of a tall tree on his father's estate. This act of the boy caused a great commotion among the people of the neighborhood, many of whom were undecided on which side to take up arms.

The excitement occasioned by his act of bravery brought Sebree to the notice of the United States Senator from Mississippi, who some years after secured an appointment to the West Point Military Academy for the young Unionist. He entered as a cadet July Ist, I866, and graduated June 15th, 1870. He was one of the youngest cadets ever sent out from the Academy.

He was promoted in the army to Second Lieutenant with the Sixth Cavalry Regiment on June 15th, 1870; served on frontier duty at Fort Richardson, Texas, October 13th, 1870, to April 20th, 1871; camp on Little Wichita River, Texas, January 10th to March 13th, 1871; camp near Fort Sill, Indian Territory, and Forts Harker and Hays, Kansas, April to November, 1871; at Fort Riley, Kansas, November 8th, 1871, to May 3rd, 1872; at Fort Dodge, Kansas, June 28th, 1872, to July 7th, 1873; on a leave of absence to December 4th, 1872, to January 10th, 1873; promoted to First Lieutenant of the Sixth Cavalry Regiment on October 4th, 1872; served as the Regimental Quartermaster from May 17th, 1873, to April 4th, 1874; at camp near Fort Hays, Kansas, from July 12th to October 18th, 1873; at Fort Hays, Kansas, to June 18th, 1874; at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, to August of 1874; engaged in scouting from June to July of 1874; in the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Agency, August to November of 1874; expedition in Indian Territory, December 21st, 1874, to March, 1875; camp North Fork of Red River, Texas, March and April, 1875; Fort Dodge, Kansas, June 1st to August 2nd, 1875; at Camp Verde, Arizona, October 9th, 1875, to March 20th, 1877; in garrison at the Washington Arsenal, D.C., (transferred to Second Artillery on February 9th, 1877) from May 14th to July 18th, 1877; engaged in suppressing the railroad disturbances in West Virginia and Maryland, from July 18th to August 10th, 1877; in garrison at the Washington Arsenal, D.C., August 10th, 1877, to April 29th, 1878; at the Artillery School for Practice at Fort Monroe, Virginia, from May 1st, 1878, to May 1st, 1880; at Fort McHenry, Maryland, to January 16th, 1881; at the Washington Barracks, D.C., to June 3rd, 1885; as the Regimental Quartermaster from January 20th, 1881, to May 5th, 1887; at St. Augustine, Florida, to June 2nd, 1887, (on a leave of absence to October 1st, 1887); at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to October 24th, 1889; at Fort Adams, Rhode Island, and Fort Warren, Massachusetts, to 1898.

He was promoted to Captain with the Third Artillery Regiment on March 3rd, 1898. Between the years 1870 and 1877 he saw hard service in Indian troubles. In 1889 he received an appointment which brought him east, where he served at Forts Adams and Warren, at both of which places he was very popular. In 1898 he went to Fort Stevens, Oregon, where he was in command, but, having inadequate assistance and a great deal of hard work to do-drilling troops for the Philippines he was overworked. This, added to his keen disappointment and worry at not being allowed to go to the Spanish war and the Philippines, induced acute nervous prostration, and he was compelled to seek rest and treatment in a sanitarium, but he never recovered his health. He was ill for two years before his death.

Captain Smith was married on December 29th, 1873, to Miss Annie Watkins, of Detroit, Michigan. Seven children were born to them, four boys and three girls. Two of these (one a son, Sebree,) died in Florida, and one son was killed by a fall. The only living son is Selwyn Dyson Smith, now a Lieutenant in the First United States Cavalry, having earned his position by enlisting as a private in United States Volunteers and taking part in the war in the Philippines. One of the daughters is the wife of Captain D. W. Ketcham, of the United States Artillery. The other two daughters are not married.

Captain Smith was very tall, being over six feet. He was a splendid horseman and marksman.

One of his army friends, who served with him a number of years ago, says of him: "We loved him for his many noble qualities. I never knew him to speak an unkind word or do an unkind act. He was a Christian gentleman without reproach, and it gives me great pleasure to bear this testimony to his character."

General James Oakes (formerly Colonel of the Sixth Cavalry), in a recent letter, speaking of Captain Smith, whom he calls his friend and fellow officer, says: "During his service with me as a member of my regimental staff, I always found him an efficient, capable and energetic officer, ever ready for duty, and always doing the right thing at the right time. If he had any fault it was his extreme modesty. He never received full credit for his many noble and generous acts in official as well as in private life."

Two hours before his death Captain Smith saw his son Selwyn for the first time in two years, (Selwyn having enlisted and been in the Philippines.) He gave his son a smile of welcome, then sank into unconsciousness which lasted until his death.

He was a devoted husband, a loving father and a noble and brave officer. Captain Smith's remains are buried at Arlington.

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  • Created by: John C. Anderson
  • Added: 6 Mar 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 49318557
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Sebree Smith (21 Jun 1851–5 Jul 1901), Find A Grave Memorial no. 49318557, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by John C. Anderson (contributor 47208015) .