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| || MAJOR GENERAL G. W. SMITH STONE |
Cedar Grove Cemetery
638 Broad Street
New London, CT
Erected: September 21, 1977
Type: Contemporary low gravestone of polished light gray granite
Donor: Robert Bishop
MAJOR GENERAL G.W. SMITH STONE, Cedar Grove Cemetery, New London, is significant historically because it is a memorial to an officer of the Confederate States of America. It is the only known stone of a Confederate soldier in Connecticut. The only other known recognition of Confederate service is that given by YALE CIVIL WAR MEMORIAL , New Haven, which lists Yale graduates who fought with both the Union and Confederate forces.
Gustavus Woodson Smith is buried in New London because he married a New London woman, Lucretia Bassett (d. 1881), daughter of Abner Bassett, New London whaling merchant. Lucretia B. Smith was in Savannah when it was captured by General William Tecumseh Sherman. Sherman noted in his Memoirs that he was glad to extend his "courteous protection" to the "very handsome" Mrs. Smith (quoted in W.E. Wadleigh, p. 52). Smith was interred in the Bassett family plot, in an unmarked grave, June 26, 1896.
A native of Kentucky, Smith led an active and varied life. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1842, he became an engineer in the construction of Fort Trumbull, New London, giving opportunity to become acquainted with Lucretia Smith. They were married on October 3, 1844.
Thereafter, Smith taught at West Point, fought in the Mexican War, resigned his commission, worked for Cooper & Hewitt in New York City, and served as New York City street commissioner. He received an appointment as a major general in the Confederate forces in Richmond on September 19, 1861. Smith resigned this commission in 1863, only to resume service and surrender at the end of the war. He then became the first life insurance commissioner of Kentucky, and finished his career in New York City as an author, writing about insurance and the Civil War. The literature on Smith is substantial.
The stone was put in place in Cedar Grove Cemetery September 21, 1977, by Robert Bishop, a New London resident, thought to be a descendant of General Smith on his mother's side.
MAJOR GENERAL G.W. SMITH STONE, Cedar Grove Cemetery, New London, is plain. It resembles hundreds of others in the cemetery.
MAJOR GENERAL G.W. SMITH STONE, Cedar Grove Cemetery, New London, is a low gravestone of polished light gray granite. The front face of the stone is inclined, making its overall above-ground cross section triangular. The letters recorded below are narrow but deeply incised. At the time the stone was viewed, small Confederate and United States flags were displayed nearby.
The stone is in the Abner Bassett family plot in the western part of Cedar Grove Cemetery, near Jefferson Street. A tan obelisk and six other traditional older headstones are in the plot.
Pitched polished front surface, incised caps:GUSTAVUS W. SMITH
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA
1822 - 1896
Civil War Times, 22(January 1984)12 ff.
Douglas S. Freeman, Lee's Lieutenants (New York: 1942-1944).
Ernest E. Rogers, "Cedar Grove Cemetery," The New London Cemetery Association, 1(1937):2.
William T. Sherman, Memoirs (New York: 1875).
Ralph E. Wadleigh, President of The New London Cemetery Association, interview, May 27, 1994.
Wells Eggleston Wadleigh, "Cedar Grove Cemetery, 1851-1976," The New London Cemetery Association, II(October 1976):50-53.