Richard Smith, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1865, is deserving of a place among New York State’s elite veterans for heroic and gallant service to his country during the Civil War.
Mr. Smith, while serving as a member of Company B, 95th New York Volunteers, captured two officers and twenty men of Hagood’s Brigade on August 21, 1864, at Weldon Railroad while the Confederates were endeavoring to regroup their forces in the Virginia woods, an event that proved to be pivotal in the victorious end of the Civil War.
The opportunity to seize the Weldon Railroad presented itself after General Ulysses S. Grant forced General Robert E. Lee to move his Confederate troops to the City of Richmond from Petersburg. General Lee, aware of the great importance of the railroad as a link with the rest of the South, made desperate attempts for several days to recapture it. However, with his troops unable to fully regather themselves, Lee’s efforts failed and the Union lines were permanently extended to that point.
Mr. Smith’s exploit was a part of the chain of events leading to the final victory in 1865. Mr. Smith’s final resting place is at Mt. Repose Cemetery in Haverstraw, Rockland County.