Private William Smith was born around 1838 in Charlottesville. He worked as a laborer before the war. He enlisted in the Union army at Camp Casey, Virginia, on October 24, 1864, and became a private in Company C in the 34th United States Colored Troops Infantry Regiment the next day. His enlistment records describe him as 5 feet, 6 1/2 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a yellow complexion. Smith's regiment moved between Florida and South Carolina, participating in the Battle of Honey Hill on November 30, 1865. Although the battle was an operational disaster for Union forces, it is also known for the large number of Black troops who participated in it. The 34th USCT then moved to Hilton Head, South Carolina, where Smith fell ill in January 1865. The regiment soon returned to Florida, where it spent the remainder of the war. Smith deserted in Jacksonville on June 14, 1865, and he disappeared from the historical record after the war.
Private Smith was profiled by the University of Virginia's John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History in 2017, as part of their "Black Virginians in Blue" digital project.
- Web. [ William Smith (34th USCT)], Website, John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History: Black Virginians in Blue, March 18, 2021, retrieved July 28, 2021.