Alfred C. Smith, Company H
Alfred C. Smith was born around 1836, probably in Floyd County, Kentucky. His father was Samuel M. Smith, reputedly one of northern Buchanan County's first school teachers. Alfred's mother was Mary "Polly" Justus, a sister to my Great-great-great-great grandfather Salisbury Justice. Alfred's older sister, Harriet, married my Great-great-great grandfather, Andrew Baker, and another sister, Julina, married James Baker, Andy's younger brother.
By 1850, Samuel is living near the state line, Alfred is 14, Julina is 7, and Harriet 17. My Ggg grandfather Andy was living with the Smiths at this time. This must have been very shortly after they were married. I believe that the Smiths and Bakers may have travelled together from Floyd County, Kentucky, to what was then Tazewell County, Virginia. In any event, they were neighbors in 1850 when they lived near the state line.
When war came to the valley, Alfred threw his lot in with the Confederacy, serving with Bill Lee's Company E of the Second Virginia State Line. Andy and James Baker were there as well. Sometime late in the fall of 1862, Eligha Baker was brutally murdered by bushwhackers. Another old man, a Justus, was also hanged nearby. This may have been the reason why Alfred, the Bakers, and a number of other neighborhood men joined the 39th between late November and December of '62.
Sometime before May of 1863 (his desertion was reported as April 6th, but he had already signed up with the Confederacy on the 15th of May), Alfred deserted the 39th at Louisa and went to join Company H, 10th Kentucky Cavalry, being recruited in the northern Buchanan area by Hiram Justice (the older one). Andy and James had also deserted the 39th with Alfred and joined the same company. Alfred was made a sergeant of this company with another of Andy Baker's in-laws, Hiram Justus (the younger one).
By January 1864, Alfred was back with the 39th. This is not as strange as it may sound, for Company H of the 10th Kentucky Cavalry dissolved when the regiment was ordered out of the state near the end of 1863. Five whole companies deserted en masse and most of the men either returned home or joined other units which were in no danger of being marched out of state.
In March or April of 1864, Alfred was charged with desertion, but he didn't wait around to find out if the court would convict him: he deserted again. By September or October of 1864, Alfred was "In arrest in Louisa, Ky." Alfred's sentence for his desertions was rather lenient: he had to forfeit two or three month's pay. He was listed as "present" until the regiment mustered-out at Louisville on September 15th, 1865. He probably went home accompanied by Andy, William, Freeling, and Thomas Baker, Bill Dotson, Bill, John and Elijah Estep.
Robert M. Baker
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