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Joseph Smith 1846 - 1940

Local Civil War Veteran Recalls Battles and Tells of Gettysburg Trip
News Republican July 29, 1938

     Joseph Smith, one of Henry County's three remaining Union Civil War veterans, had nothing but words of praise Sunday concerning the care and attention given the boys of '66 on their recent trip to Gettysburg.
     "The food and beds were excellent," Mr. Smith stated, "and the eight day encampment did much to develop harmony between the veterans of the North and South.
     "We didn't tear around a lot because there were some who were pretty well crippled up, but I thought on a whole, the southern soldiers looked a little worse of than we did," the Civil War veteran continued jokingly.
     The trip to the famous battleground was financed by the government and each veteran was allowed an escort to care for him during the journey and at the camp. Samuel Smith, who lives with his father, accompanied him on the outing.
     Other veterans from this county visiting the battlegrounds were, James M. Jones of near Kennard, a member of the Union army, and H. H. Lilly and William Grady of Middletown, Confederate soldiers. William Lutz of Spiceland, a participant on the northern side during the war, was unable to make the trip.
     Remarkably agile for his 92 years, Mr. Smith compares the Civil War to a prize fight with participants on both sides having no personal grudges but nevertheless "out to do their best."
     Asked if he were wounded during the war, the veteran pointed toward a scar on his right knee and another on the right side of his face.

Jokes About Knee Injury
     "I received the knee injury just when I was ready to aid in discharging a large gun," Mr. Smith said.
     He related that the shell went right through his legs, "tearing my pants, and grazing my knee."
     "A few feet back of me the shell struck the wheel of an ammunition wagon and exploded, killing a man and a horse and wounding another soldier," according to Smith.
     The doctor told Mr. Smith while dressing his knee injury that if the shell had been a fourth of an inch more to one side it would have been necessary to amputate his leg. To this remark the veteran showed his sense of humor by stating, "If the shell had been one-fourth of an inch farther away, it would have missed me entirely."

Face Wound More Serious
     New Castle's remaining participant in the Civil War spoke more seriously of his face injury. According to Smith, he and a companion had been delegated to go out and get some meat (including chicken, cattle, or whatever they could place their hands upon) when a slug from a shotgun in the hands of a "bushwhacker" or "sniper" caught him beside the jaw, cutting a gash in his cheek and knocking out one of his teeth.
     The remainder of the "spread of slugs," he said, killed his companion who was somewhat taller than he, thus making a larger target.
     Mr. Smith, who was a member of the 5th Ohio Battery, fought in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi. He volunteered at the age of 16 years, his weight at that time being 168 pounds.
     Born in France March 7, 1846, he came to Ohio when 10 years of age. For the past 66 years, he has been a resident of Henry County--- he and Mrs. Smith rearing a family of eight boys, five girls and one granddaughter.

2002 UEB

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