Pvt James Smith

Pvt James Smith

Birth
County Tipperary, Ireland
Death 25 Jun 1876 (aged 24–25)
Little Big Horn Battle Site, Big Horn County, Montana, USA
Burial Crow Agency, Big Horn County, Montana, USA
Plot In the Mass Grave
Memorial ID 7734331 · View Source
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Private, Company E, 7th US Cavalry. Formerly a Sergeant, he had been reduced in rank to Private at the time of the expedition. He was killed in action during the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana.

The first of two men named James Smith, both assigned to Company E, 7th US Cavalry, and both killed on the same day. This particular James Smith was born in Tipperary County, Ireland, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War. On 10 Sept 1866, he reenlisted for Company F, 7th US Cavalry, giving his previous occupation as a laborer. He had hazel eyes, brown hair, a ruddy complexion, and was 5 feet 6 inches tall. In January 1875, he was court-martialed for being drunk and disorderly, and for swearing at his First Sergeant, for which he was punished by confinement at hard labor for one month, and reduction from the rank of Sergeant to Private. He was killed on Last Stand Hill, along with all of the soldiers of Custer's Column, and was initially buried where he fell. In 1878, the bodies of the soldiers were removed from their field burials and reinterred in a mass grave at the top of Last Stand Hill, where his body remains today. He was not married.
Pvt Smith enlisted into the U.S. Army on January 25, 1866 in Charleston N.C. He was described as 24 yrs old, hazel eyes, brown hair, ruddy complexion and 5' 9" tall. His prior occupation was listed as "soldier."

He was first assigned to Company L, 5th U.S. Cavalry. When his 3 year enlistment expired on January 25, 1869, at San Francisco Creek TX, he reenlisted for five more years.

On May 20, 1869, he was arrived for duty at Ft Leavenworth KS and was assigned to Company L, 7th U.S. Cavalry. His initial daily duties with Company L were listed as cook. His later duties were changed to overseer of prisoners and was promoted to sergeant.

In 1874, he was placed on medical leave for chronic rheumatism.

On December 24, 1874, for unknown reasons, he was sentenced at a general court martial to reduction in rank to private, and forfeiture of pay ($10.00 a month) for six months.

In June of 1875, he was listed as a hospital nurse at the post hospital.

At the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Smith was a member of Company E. Company E was commanded by Lt William Reily. Smith. Pvt Smith was killed during the battle.

At the time of the Battle of the Little Bighorn there were two James Smiths in Company E. They were listed on the company roster as Smith 1 & Smith 2.

Smith's remains were not reported as being identified. Therefore, he was likely first buried where they had been found.

In 1881, all known battlefield burials were moved to a mass grave on Last Stand Hill.


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  • Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
  • Added: 3 Aug 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7734331
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pvt James Smith (1851–25 Jun 1876), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7734331, citing Custer National Cemetery, Crow Agency, Big Horn County, Montana, USA ; Maintained by Kit and Morgan Benson (contributor 46483611) .