Allen Mesch, the author of Teacher of Civil War Generals – Major General Charles Ferguson Smith, Soldier and West Point Commandant, will discuss General Smith at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 12, at the Allen Public Library.
Mesch wrote this biography relying on previously unpublished letters and diaries of the distinguished officer.
From the training field at West Point to the entrenchments at Fort Donelson, Charles Ferguson Smith was the soldier’s soldier. Shelby Foote described him as “Regular Army to the shoe-soles.”
During his nearly 42-year career, General Smith was a teacher, mentor, and role model for many young officers who later became prominent Civil War generals. Smith served at the U.S. Military Academy from 1829 to 1842 as Instructor of Tactics, Adjutant to the Superintendent, and Commandant of Cadets. He was respected and admired by his former students and future officers including Grant, Halleck, Longstreet, and Sherman. Grant described General Scott and Captain C. F. Smith, the Commandant of Cadets, as “the two men most to be envied in the nation. I retained a high regard for both of them up to the day of their death.”
At the age of 55, General Smith died from an infection from a severe wound on his leg. General William T. Sherman noted, “Had C. F. Smith lived Grant would have disappeared to history after Donelson.” General Wallace, who bristled under Smith’s command, later described him as “an ideal friend in my ideal soldier” and revered “the hero even as I loved the man.”
Mesch is an author, educator, and historian and teaches classes on the Civil War at Collin College. He has visited over 132 Civil War sites and shares his over 4,000 photographs through his web site Civil War Journeys. In addition, he writes a Civil War blog called Salient Points and reviews books for the Civil War Courier.
Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, the program is free. The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214.509.4911.for more information.