Myron Thaddeus Smith
Company C, 11th Minnesota Infantry
Great-great-grandfather of J. Thomas Smith
The Eleventh Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers was formed under call of President Lincoln for troops, and was organized and mustered into the service during the service during the months of August and September, 1864.
As a regiment the 11th stayed at Fort Snelling, Minn. for about a month. On September 20 of that year they marched from Fort Snelling to St. Paul, where guns and other supplies were distributed to the more than 1,000 officers and men. There they boarded a steamboat and 2 large barges on the Mississippi River to begin their move to the South.
At La Crosse, Wis., the Minnesota Eleventh was transferred to boxcars to Chicago to continue their journey southward to Louisville. From there they proceeded directly to Nashville, Tenn., from which the companies were deployed at different stations along the line of the Louisville & Nashville railroad, for the purposes of protecting it from Rebel guerrillas. This line of railroad was then of great importance, as all troops and supplies for the Army of the Cumberland passed over its rails. Company C (Private Smith’s unit) was placed at Richland, not far from Knoxville. The regular routine of the regiment for the remainder of the war consisted of guard, picket, and patrol duty.
After the Battle of Nashville, the men of the Eleventh were treated to their first sight of regular Confederate troops, as train load after train load of prisoners were sent North for safekeeping.
In the latter part of June, 1865, the Eleventh Regiment was relieved, and on the 26th of June the start was made for home. All along the homeward route the Eleventh received the same welcome as did those who had been heroes of a hundred battles. The regiment reached St. Paul on July 5th, and was mustered out of service on the 11th of that month.
From the foregoing it will be seen that the service of the Eleventh Regiment was probably less eventful that of the other regiments or troops (such as the 1st Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg and other locations) furnished by the state, though Minnesota had no reason to regret her Eleventh offering to the Union cause, for the regiment did its duty and did it well. Though there was no loss in battle, lives were sacrificed — the severity of the climate and conditions on the men from the north caused several of the Eleventh to lose their lives in the service of their country. Many graves in Tennessee serve as mute witnesses that the Eleventh Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers contributed a portion of its life and strength for the Union.
For his part, Myron Thaddeus Smith was mustered out on June 26, 1865 at St. Paul, suffering from the effects of “chronic diarrhea and rheumatism.” There is a photograph of him in a uniform with sergeant’s stripes, but no evidence has been found that he attained that rank. It is assumed that he borrowed the coat to have his picture taken. Surely he did not attempt to pass himself off as a non-commissioned officer upon his return to the home folks in Blue Earth County in southern Minnesota.