1st Maine Cavalry, CDV of BBG Charles H. Smith, CMOH

An unsigned vignette of this illustrious officer who earned four brevets and the Medal of Honor. Charles Henry Smith (1827-1902) joined the regiment as Captain , Co. D, 10/61; promoted Major 2/63; Lieut. Colonel 4/63; Colonel 6/63; WIA Saint Mary’s Church, VA 6/24/64, and was awarded Medal of Honor April 11, 1895, for gallantry that day, “remaining in the fight to the close, although severely wounded.” Colonel Smith was brevetted Brigadier General 8/1/64 for “distinguished conduct in the engagement at St. Mary’s Church.” His second wartime brevet to Major General was awarded 3/1865 “for highly distinguished and meritorious services.” Post-war, Smith was honored with another pair of brevets on 3/2/67: Brigadier General “for gallant and meritorious service at Sailor’s Creek, Va.,” and Major General “for gallant and meritorious service during the war.” The regimental history relates that Smith was wounded three times and had five horses shot from under him (two at St. Mary’s Church) and was under fire on sixty occasions.

Smith stayed in the army post-war and became Colonel 28th US Infantry 7/66; transferred to 19th US Infantry 3/69; retired 11/1/91; died July 17, 1902. General Smith is properly buried at Arlington (Grave 1-128-A).

1st Maine Cavalry

The illustrious 1st Maine Cavalry rightfully earned a reputation as one of the premier cavalry regiments in the Army of the Potomac Cavalry Corps. Organized at Augusta and mustered in November 5, 1861, the regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac and took the field by battalion serving with various commands engaged in railroad guard duty, scouting and reconnaissance work. The command’s first significant action came at Middleton, VA, on May 24, 1862, where 53 casualties were incurred including a number of men taken prisoners. Some portion of the 1st Maine Cavalry was present at every major battle and engagement fought by the Army of the Potomac, engaged in 29 major fights and over 50 smaller skirmishes.

During the early summer of 1863, the 1st Maine fought successive cavalry actions at Brandy Station, Aldie, and Middleburg leading up to the crescendo at Gettysburg. From the rout at Chancellorsville in May through the end of the year the regiment suffered an appalling 155 men killed and wounded. The tempo of 1864 was to prove just as deadly. Following heavy losses during the March Raid on Richmond, the 1st Maine became Grant’s “eyes and hears” during the summer Overland Campaign in which another 140 cavalrymen became casualties at Spotsylvania, Saint Mary’s Church, and the Boydton Plank Road. The hard fought regiment mustered out on November 25, 1864. Amazingly, a stalwart core of veterans together with new recruits incorporated the remnants of the 1st District of Columbia Cavalry to form a new 1st Maine Cavalry Regiment. The resurrected 1st Maine rode at Appomattox with the same élan of its predecessor and sustained a further 43 battle casualties hot on Lee’s heals before finally mustering out on August 1, 1865. Fox’s Regimental Losses notes that “this regiment lost the greatest number killed in action of any Cavalry Regiment in the entire army,” a hallowed epitaph.

Provenance:The Tom MacDonald Maine Civil War CDV Collection

Condition:Carte is G., with edge war and soft corners.

Estimate: $400 - $500
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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