"Willie" was one of 4 children of Archibald Smith and his wife Anne Magill. He grew up in Roswell, GA on a sizable plantation.
--He served in Company A, 18th GA Infantry. He became ill with dysentery in Raleigh at the end of the war. There was not room in the hospital for all sick and injured. Willie was taken in by the Mason family of Raleigh. They offered to let him stay in their home, but he insisted on being in a tent in their yard. Mrs. Mason nursed him and the family provided him with food and all his needs. Willie did not recover and by the time of his death in July, letters were being exchanged between Willie's parents and the Maons. The Masons buried Willie in their own family plot in Oakwood Cemetery. The Smith family paid for the grave marker, which was made to their specifications.
--Willie's Confederate service and the story of his illness and death is the subject of an excellent book, The Death of a Confederate, told through letters, edited by Dr. Arthur N. Skinner and James L. Skinner, Jr. and published by the University of Georgia Press in 1996. Willie's childhood home in Roswell, GA is now open to the public (findagrave.com)
Inscription in his mother's Bible: "William Seagrove Smith sweetly fell asleep on the 7th July 1865, in Raleigh, N.C. where he was received into the family of Rev. R.S. Mason D.D., an Episcopal minister, & tenderly nursed with Christian sympathy for months, to the final issue of diseases contracted by exposure in the service of the Confederate States, into which he early and heartily entered."
Private, Company A, 18 BN, Georgia Infantry, CSA. Burial plot: Battle section, Lot 20.
William "Willie" Smith, son of Archibald and Anne Smith, was born in St. Marys, Georgia, in 1834. He attended Oglethorpe University and explored careers in business and education before the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. He enlisted as a member of the Signal Corps and was stationed near Savannah throughout the War. In anticipation of Sherman taking control of Savannah, Willie, sent his trunk to his family because he was unable to transport his personal belongings during the Confederate retreat. Willie lost his life to disease after the long march, two weeks after the Civil War ended. The trunk was placed in the attic of the Smith Plantation where it was discovered 120 years later. Arthur Skinner, one of the inheritors of the Smith estate, found the trunk in the attic in 1987, still containing personal items such as letters to William from 1856 to Nov. 5, 1864, and clothing. Arthur and his brother, Dr. Lister Skinner, cataloged the letters into a book, “The Death of a Confederate,” available for purchase at the Smith Plantation (www.roswellgov.com)