78th and 102nd Reunion
at Gettysburg Monument
Photograph donated by Mary Pitkin,
Great Great granddaughter of Charles Smith
(enlisted as Charles McGowan)
Submitted by Mary Pitkin:
Charles was a member of Co. D 102nd N.Y. Infantry Volunteers.
Charles states that at the outset of the Civil War, he was "determined to enlist" and made "several attempts to do so" but was underage. He did not have his mother's permission to enlist and she threatened to make him be discharged if he did so. In order to not be discovered by his mother, who he says would be searching for someone named Charles E. Smith, he enlisted with his brother, James, on 4 February 1862 under the name Charles McGowan. He stayed enlisted under that name until 1865.
Charles was captured at Black River, NC on 16 Mar 1865. He was brought from Smithfield, NC to Richmond, VA 23 Mar 1865 and was in the Alexandria, VA Prison until 26 March 1865. He rejoined his Company 27 Mar 1865 and was sent to Camp Parole, MD. He was furloughed for 30 days on 2 April 1865. He returned to his Company on 3 May 1865 in New York City and sent to Camp Distribution in Alexandria, VA where he was mustered out on 21 July 1865.
Charles' obituary says that he was a member of Green's brigade, 12th corps at the battle of Gettysburg and was at Culps' Hill during that conflict. Later he was with Sherman during the march to the sea through Georgia.
According to a signed "Claimant's Affidavit" Charles says that his father was George F. Smith and his mother was Jane Smith. Previous to marrying Mr.
Smith, Jane was married to a Mr. McGowan. She had three children with him, Mary, James and John McGowan. George Smith died "during my (Charles') infancy". He states that while in school he was often called Charles McGowan because of his siblings.
Prior to the war, his mother lived on West Fourth Streen in New York City.
Charles lived with his employer, Sydney Mount, on Hester St. in NYC. His employer was a "pen and pencil case worker" with a shop on Chatham Square in NYC. Charles entered into apprenticeship with him in 1859. Charles is not listed with Sydney in the 1860 Census.
Charles is listed as living in Brooklyn, NY until 1868, Meriden, CT until 1871, Wallingford, CT until 1882, Hartford, CT until 1887 and finally Wallingford, CT again until his death.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
November 3, 2008