Francis Smith

Francis Smith was born in 1840 in Germany.

Francis, whose real name may have been Franz Schmidt, immigrated to America and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan by the time the war had broken out.

He stood 5’4” with gray eyes, light hair and a fine complexion and was a 21-year-old teamster probably living in Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 6, 1861. (Curiously, he did not join Company C was made up largely of German and Dutch immigrants, many of whom lived on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids. This company was the descendant of the old Grand Rapids Rifles, also known as the “German Rifles,” a prewar local militia company composed solely of German troopers. But rather he enlisted in Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers,” was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)

Francis was absent sick from July of 1862 through August, and allegedly deserted on September 21 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia. In fact he was discharged on September 2 at Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island, for paraplegia resulting from a spinal injury.

Francis eventually returned to Michigan where he was living in 1881 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 442695).

He was eventually admitted to the Eastern Branch National Military Home in Togus, Maine, where died on September 26, 1901. He was buried in the Togus National Cemetery: west cemetery, section I, row 5, no. 8, grave 1713