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Martin Luther Smith

engineer , general , military

Martin Luther Smith, American army officer. Served as Lieutenant topographical engrs. in Mexican War.


SMITH, Martin Luther was born on September 9, 1819 in Tomkins County, New York, United States, United States. Son of Luther Smith.


Graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1842.


He graduated sixteenth in a class of fifty-six from the U.S. Military Academy in 1842. On July 27, 1846, he married Sarah E. Nisbet, daughter of Eugenius Nisbet of Athens, Georgia, who was a major figure in Georgia politics. Smith, a career officer in the U.S. Army before the Civil War, served with the topographical engineers during the Mexican War.

Following his promotion to first lieutenant in 1853, he made surveys for improvements on the Savannah River in Georgia. In 1856, he was promoted to captain, and he spent the next five years making surveys in Texas and serving as chief engineer for the Fernandina and Cedar Keys Railroad in Florida. He resigned from the army on April 1, 1861, and was commissioned a major in the Confederate States Corps of Engineers at the beginning of the war.

Smith was promoted to brigadier general on April 11, 1862, and to major general on November 4, 1862. He was chief of engineers for the Army of Northern Virginia before being sent west in 1862, where he planned and constructed the river defenses for New Orleans and Vicksburg. In June 1862, he was put in charge of the Third District of southern Mississippi and east Louisiana.

While he was chief in command at Vicksburg, he resisted the naval attack of General William T. Sherman in December 1862. He later commanded a division and was captured during the siege of Vicksburg. Following his exchange, he was chief engineer for the Army of Northern Virginia from April through July 1864, for the Army of Tennessee from July to October 1864, and for the defense of Mobile until the end of the war.

He surrendered at Mobile and was paroled in May 1865. After the war, he was an engineer in Athens, Georgia.


"Peculiar institution" of slavery was not only expedient but also ordained by God and upheld in Holy Scripture.


Stands for preserving slavery, states' rights, and political liberty for whites. Every individual state is sovereign, even to the point of secession.


Served as Lieutenant topographical engrs. in Mexican War.


Married Sarah Nisbet, 1846.

Luther Smith. Smith

Sarah Nisbet