Wednesday 23 February 2011: Col. Robert A. Smith
Col. Robert A. Smith
10th Mississippi Regiment
Confederate States Army
A [ ] of Edinburgh
Who fell mortally wounded
Battle of Mumfordsville
September 14th 1862
While gallantly leading
Charge of Fort Craig
Aged 26 years
I always find there's something interesting in a cemetery, and today's umpteenth wander through Dean Cemetery was no different. There could have been a Dove; a Lovable Personality; or some oft-blipped Miraculous Happenings. But. A Confederate War Veteran in an Edinburgh cemetery?
And would you believe it, he has a Wikipedia page. Or rather a monument stateside does, with a reference to this monument this side of the Pond. Colonel Smith (being only 26, but just one step away from being a General) lead a force to capture a bridge (incidentally during the Battle of Munfordville, not Mumsfordville - bit of a breakdown in communication it seems on the old headstone ordering front). Rumour has it that General Chalmers ordered him to do so because Smith was rising in rank and could be after his job, so hoped he would perish. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, or cutting your nose of to spite your face, or any other number of cliches aimed at determining someone has really done something rather stupid for equally stupid reasons...
The monument in the US is a tad bigger, erected by his brother in the 1880s after he himself emigrated to the US from Glasgow. I can only presume Robert had already emigrated before the war started, rather than heading over with the express intention of signing up. Strange old four years in the U S of A (or, indeed, 'out' of it). I had to wipe away the dedication to read it, and it seems like it is maintained by a Confederacy organisation. I wonder if they still want to enslave black people and deny them civil rights?
They were different times, of course, but it seems slightly odd seeing monuments to people who were essentially white supremacists. Obviously the war was more complex than that one central issue, but it was a foundation stone. But then neither would I advocate tearing down such monuments. They serve as reminders. To be excellent to one another.
And to make sure that if you sign up to something be sure to check the smallprint for being able to leave....
(and interestingly Wikipedia doesn't list Confederate War as one of the alternative names for the American Civil War).