Smith, Erastus W. (ca. 1829–ca. 0000)

By: James A. Hathcock and Andy Galloway

Type: Biography

Published: May 31, 2011

Updated: October 29, 2015

Erastus W. Smith, farmer, teacher, and Civil War leader, was born in Virginia about 1829. He travelled with his family in their move to Hancock County, Kentucky, where he married Dorcas Huff on September 21, 1842. They had seven children in Kentucky—John B (b. 1846), Eliabeth A.(b. 1848), Joseph (b. 1850), Azro D. (b. 1853), Floyd E. (b. 1854), Mary Belle (b. 1856), and Rufus King (b .1859).

In 1854 Smith arrived in Limestone County with his family, two slaves, and "Hogs & Waggon, [sic]." In 1855 he owned 100 acres of land. Their family grew with the addition of a daughter, Mollie, in 1857 and a son, E., in 1860. By 1860 he had switched professions to become a teacher ad principal at the Eutaw School in Limestone County, but the following year he returned to farming with 255 acres, two slaves, horses, cattle, and sheep. On December 16, 1861, Erastus Smith rode eighty-five miles to Camp Hebert near Hempstead to join Company C of the Twelfth Texas Infantry Regiment (Young's).

On December 23, 1861, Smith received an appointment as captain of the company. On June 11, 1862, the men of his company, who had been recruited in Comanche, Milam, and Grimes counties, elected him captain. Erastus Smith and the Twelfth Regiment saw most of its action in Louisiana during the Civil War. The regiment participated in the battle of Young's Point on June 7, 1863, at which Union forces held onto a supply depot that was vital to Grant's siege of Vicksburg. On March 10, 1864, the regiment began fighting in the Red River campaign against Union Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. During this campaign, Erastus W. Smith was absent from his regiment on general court martial issued from Departmental Headquarters in Shreveport, Louisiana. His final service rank was major.

Very little is known about Erastus Smith after the war. He and Dorcas do not appear on any 1870 Federal Census, but by the 1870s the children settled in Falls County alongside Smith's sister Catherine and husband John McClanahan.

Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Courier-Journal, November 19, 1867.

Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James A. Hathcock and Andy Galloway, “Smith, Erastus W.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 31, 2011
October 29, 2015

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