1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Smith, Edmund Kirby
|←Smith, Colvin||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 25
Smith, Edmund Kirby
|Smith, Francis Hopkinson→|
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SMITH, EDMUND KIRBY (1824-1893), Confederate general in the American Civil War, was the son of Joseph Lee Smith (1776-1846), an American lawyer and soldier, who served with credit in the War of 1812 and rose to the rank of colonel U.S.A. His elder brother, Ephraim Kirby Smith (1807-1847), also a soldier, fell at Molino del Rey; and Joseph Lee Kirby Smith, Ephraim's son, who took the Federal side in the Civil War, was mortally wounded at the battle of Corinth, having at the age of twenty-six attained the rank of brevet-colonel U.S.A. Edmund Kirby Smith was born at St Augustine, Fla., on the 16th of May 1824, and graduated at West Point in 1845, being assigned to the infantry. In the Mexican War he was breveted first lieutenant, and captain for gallantry at Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo and at Contreras-Churubusco. He was assistant professor of mathematics at West Point from 1849 to 1852 and was later engaged in Indian warfare on the Texas frontier. In 1861 he attained the rank of major. When Florida seceded he resigned his army commission and entered the Confederate service as a lieutenant-colonel. He was made a brigadier-general on the 17th of June 1861, and was wounded at the battle of Bull Run (q.v.). In command of the Confederate forces in the Cumberland Gap region Kirby Smith took part in General Bragg's invasion of Kentucky in the autumn of 1862, and inflicted upon the Federal forces a severe defeat at Richmond, Ky., on the 30th of August; and was present at the battles of Perryville and Murfreesboro (Stone River). From February 1863 to the fall of the Confederacy he was in command of the trans-Mississippi department, and was successful in making this section of the Confederacy (isolated from the rest by the fall of Vicksburg) self-supporting. He instituted a regular system of blockade-running, and met and defeated the Red River expedition under General N. P. Banks in 1864. Kirby Smith and his troops surrendered on the 26th of May 1865, being the last armed forces of the Confederate States to do so. After the war, he was from 1866 to 1868 president of the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph company, from 1868 to 1870 president of the Western Military Academy, from 1870 to 1875 chancellor of the university of Nashville, and from 1875 to his death professor of mathematics at the university of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. He died at Sewanee on the 28th of March 1893.