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John C. Smith was born in the year 1828 in Limerick County, Ireland to parents George Smith and Rebecca Corneille. After migrating to the United States he enlisted in the Confederate State Army at Houston, Florida on April 21, 1861. On January 16, 1862 John reenlisted in a new unit, Company B, 1st Florida Infantry. He was subsequently wounded at Murfreesboro on January 2, 1863 and never returned to duty, being dropped from military rolls after April 1863.

The original Old 1st Florida Infantry was organized at the Chattahoochee Arsenal on April 5, 1861 for 12 months service. It was the first Florida unit organized for Confederate service. Eight of the companies were raised in the Florida panhandle, from Tallahassee to Madison, while two came from Alachua County in central-northern Florida. It failed at reorganization in February 1862 and its men reenlisted, organized into four companies as the 1st Infantry Battalion, known as McDonell’s Battalion, in February 1862 and served with distinction at Shiloh in April, 1862.  It was composed of two companies from Leon County, two companies from Alachua and one each from Franklin, Jackson, Madison, Gadsen, Jefferson and Escambia counties. These companies, with the exception of Company K, the Pensacola Guards, which was from Escambia County, all rendezvoused at the Chattahoochee arsenal where they went into a Camp of Instruction. There, on April 5, 1861, it was mustered into the military service of the Confederate States for twelve months, and was organized by the election of Captain James Patton Anderson of Jefferson County as Colonel; William K. Beard of Leon County as Lieutenant Colonel and Thadeus MacDonell of Alachua County as Major. Upon the completion of the organization of the regiment it was ordered to Pensacola where it arrived on April 12, 1861 and was joined there by Company K. Like all regiments mustered in the early days of 1861, it enlisted for twelve months and served almost its entire term in Pensacola and in that vicinity.

Its assignments included the Department of West Florida  from April - October 1861, the Department of Alabama and West Florida in October 1861 and the Army of Pensacola, Department of Alabama and West Florida from October 1861 through February 1862 and participated in the Battle of  Santa Rosa Island on October 9, 1861.   After Shiloh, McDonell's Battalion was consolidated with the newly recruited 1st Florida Battalion to form the New 1st Florida Infantry Regiment, which served in the Western Theatre for the rest of the war. Late in 1862, the 1st and 3rd Florida Infantry regiments were consolidated, and in the final weeks of the war, all of the Florida troops from the Army of Tennessee, then serving in North Carolina, were grouped into the 1st Florida Consolidated Regiment, which surrendered at Durham Station on April 26, 1865. 

After the war John migrated to Australia and in 1870 married Eliza Cadzow; and their children born at St. Arnaud, Victoria include Margaret, born in 1871, Lizzie born in 1874, Jno Corneille born in 1876, Thomas Cadzow born in 1878, Ethel born in 1880, Alice Proben born in 1883 and Mabel born in 1886;

John C. Smith died of heart failure in 1914 at the age of sixty-seven and after an Inquest, on June 22, 1914, was buried in the St Arnaud Cemetery, Victoria.

 

“Civil War Units”, 1st Florida Infantry Regiment, CSA

 Dale Watt, St. Arnaud

 Soldiers of Florida in the Seminole Indian, Civil and Spanish Amercan Wars, Florida Board of State Institutions, 1903

 “Roster”, 1st Florida Infantry, Company H, Vol. 1

 Paul Eugene Camp, Special Collections, University of South Florida

 Smith/Cadzow Marriage Registration, No. 1455

 Victoria Birth Records

 Public Records Office Melbourne

 

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