James E. Smith
Captain, United States Army
4th NY Independent Battery (Smith's)
Artillery Brigade, Army of Potomac
Died April 18, 1898
Buried In Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery
The Second Day At Gettysburg:
Warren received detailed information from Captain Hall as to what had been observed at the signal station. Several messages were sent to Meade's headquarters describing earlier Confederate movement toward the Federal right as well as recent movement toward the left. The message detailing movement to the right was Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's countermarch. Brig. Gen. E. M. Law was convinced that the message detailing movement to the left was describing Maj. Gen. John B. Hood's Division going into position east of the Emmitsburg Road. Hall and his party were experienced observers who had been trained in the art of gathering intelligence. Historians have characterized Warren's description of “glistening of gun barrels and bayonets” as romantic, but undoubtedly Warren could see troop movement after the shot was fired by Captain James E. Smith's 4th New York Battery. The battery was located several hundred yards from the crest of Little Round Top, above Devil's Den with two gun sections facing toward the Emmitsburg Road. In all probability, Warren sent an orderly to the battery ordering the shot in an attempt to verify what he had been told by the signallers. Years after the battle, during a Veteran Signal Corps Association meeting at Gettysburg, Hall maintained that he had a difficult time convincing Warren that the Confederates were in the woods. However, a review of excerpts of his report written shortly after the battle reveals only laudatory comments concerning Warren.
Shortly after the shot was fired from Smith's battery, the Confederate troops opened fire on the signal station. Captain Hall and his signal party began to withdraw from the exposed station, but Warren “requested” that they stay and wave their flags in
defiance, in order to make the hill look as though it were occupied.
4th New York Independent Battery, “A Famous Battery and its Campaigns 1861-1864, Fourth New Independent Battery,” by James E. Smith, Washington, DC. Originally published in 1892 this book may prove hard to find. This book has a brief history of the Forth New York Battery and what it did as well as a biography on the career of Corporal James Tanner, a member of the unit. This battery was recruited in NewYork City as Company L Artillery, Serrell's Engineers and part of the 1st troop Washington Greys. It saw action on the Virginia Peninsula, also at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, losing 27 men killed, wounded or missing. It's a small book of 200 pages. Expect to pay around $ 200 dollars if found.
Title: James E. Smith [graphic].
Description: 1 photomechanical print : halftone.
LC Call No.: Illus. in E523.8 4th
Notes: Head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left. Illus. in: A Famous battery and its campaigns, 1861-64 / by Captain James E. Smith. Washington : W.H. Lowdermilk & Co., 1892.
Availability: LC-USZ62-100661 DLC (b&w film copy neg.)
Subjects: Smith, James E., b. 1831 or 1832.
Portraits — 1860-1900 — Reproductions. gmgpc
Book illustrations — 1890-1900. gmgpc
Halftone photomechanical prints — 1890-1900.
Control No.: 11538110
Access: b&w film copy neg.
Author: Smith, James E., b. 1831 or 1832.
Title: A famous battery and its campaigns, 1861-'64. The career of Corporal James Tanner in war and in peace. Early Days in the Black Hills with some account of Captain Jack Crawford, the poet scout; by Captain James E. Smith, 4th New York Independent battery.
Published: Washington, W. H. Lowdermilk & Co., 1892.
Description: vii, 237 p. front., illus., port., plan. 19 cm.
LC Call No.: E523.8 4th
Subjects: United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865
Regimental histories — New York Artillery — Independent
battery — 4th. New York Artillery. 4th Independent Battery — 1861-1863.
New York Artillery. Varian's battery — 1861.
Tanner, James, 1844-
Crawford, Jack, 1847-1917
Black Hills (South Dakota and Wyoming) — History.
Control No.: 9131450
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard