Today's ride brings us to our twelveth state [Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee]. My, how the miles have just rolled on by! There are only 18 more riding days! This trip has gone so quickly.
According to family history, Smith was born into slavery, the son of Susan, a slave, and Elijah Smith, a slave owner. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Elijah Smith joined the Confederate military, with the intention of taking 19-year-old Andrew along with him. When Andrew Smith learned of this, he and another slave ran away, walking 25 miles (40 km) through the rain before presenting themselves to a Union Army regiment, the 41st Illinois Infantry, in Smithland, Kentucky.
Smith was nominated for the Medal of Honor in 1916, but the Army denied the nomination, citing a lack of official records documenting his case. Smith's commander at Honey Hill had not included an account of Smith's actions in the official battle report. It was not until January 16, 2001, 137 years after the Battle of Honey Hill, that Smith was recognized; President Bill Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to several of Smith's descendants during a ceremony at the White House on that day. Former President Theodore Roosevelt was also posthumously awarded the medal at the same ceremony, for his actions during the Spanish-American War.
Smith's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith, of Clinton, Illinois, a member of the 55th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, distinguished himself on 30 November 1864 by saving his regimental colors, after the color bearer was killed during a bloody charge called the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina. In the late afternoon, as the 55th Regiment pursued enemy skirmishers and conducted a running fight, they ran into a swampy area backed by a rise where the Confederate Army awaited. The surrounding woods and thick underbrush impeded infantry movement and artillery support. The 55th and 54th regiments formed columns to advance on the enemy position in a flanking movement. As the Confederates repelled other units, the 55th and 54th regiments continued to move into flanking positions. Forced into a narrow gorge crossing a swamp in the face of the enemy position, the 55th's Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Corporal Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire. Although half of the officers and a third of the enlisted men engaged in the fight were killed or wounded, Corporal Smith continued to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle. Through his actions, the Regimental Colors of the 55th Infantry Regiment were not lost to the enemy. Corporal Andrew Jackson Smith's extraordinary valor in the face of deadly enemy fire is in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, the 55th Regiment, and the United States Army.Then it was onto the Golden Pond Visitor Center, Land Between the Lakes, KY.
Fort Donelson National Battlefield
During the Civil War of the 1860's, Union Forces were heading south to fight the Confederacy. Fort Donelson was key because of its location on the Cumberland River. Donelson was captured by the Union in 1862; it was their first major victory of the Civil War. With the fort under Union control they now had a door open to the Confederacy; setting the state for invasion of the south and eventual capture of the Mississippi River Valley.
Campaign: Federal Penetration up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers (1862)
Date(s): February 11-16, 1862
Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Flag-Officer A.H. Foote [US]; Brig. Gen. John B. Floyd, Brig. Gen. Gideon Pillow, and Brig. Gen. Simon B. Buckner [CS]
Forces Engaged: Army in the Field [US]; Fort Donelson Garrison [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 17,398 total (US 2,331; CS 15,067)
Description: After capturing Fort Henry on February 6, 1862, Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant advanced cross-country to invest Fort Donelson. On February 16, 1862, after the failure of their all-out attack aimed at breaking through Grant’s investment lines, the fort’s 12,000-man garrison surrendered unconditionally. This was a major victory for Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a catastrophe for the South. It ensured that Kentucky would stay in the Union and opened up Tennessee for a Northern advance along the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. Grant received a promotion to major general for his victory and attained stature in the Western Theater, earning the nom de guerre “Unconditional Surrender.”
Result(s): Union victory
Dover Hotel - site of unconditional surrender of General Buckner to General Grant on Feb 16, 1862.
We are staying at the Dover Inn Motel.
Tomorrow we are off to Hurricane Mills, KY.