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This Day in Georgia History

July 29, 1866

Martin L. Smith Died

Former Confederate general Martin L. Smith died in Savannah. Born Sept. 9 1819, in Danby, N.Y., Smith graduated from West Point in 1842, after which he was assigned to survey coasts and rivers. During the Mexican War, he served as a civil engineer. In April 1861, Smith resigned his U.S. Army commission and served as a major of engineers planning the defenses of New Orleans. In 1862, Smith had a phenomenal rise in rank, in February being promoted to colonel, in April to brigadier general, and in November to major general. Smith became Robert E. Lee’s chief engineer. In 1864, he served as chief engineer for Gen. Hood’s defense of Atlanta. After the war, Smith practiced civil engineering briefly before his death. He is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens.