John Radcliffe Smead (1830-1862)

John Radcliffe Smead (1830-1862)

Birth: November 4, 1830; Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Death: August 30, 1862 (age 32); Second Battle of Bull Run

Military Service: USA, 1861-62

Unit: 1st Company, PA Volunteers, 5th Artillery

Alma Mater: Dickinson College, B.A. (Class of 1849 non-graduate)

John Radcliffe Smead was born in Carlisle in 1830, the son of Raphael C. and Sarah Radcliffe Smead. He entered the local Dickinson College as a junior in the fall of 1847, pursuing a partial course. He was a member of the Union Philosophical Society. The family was struck with tragedy when Smead’s father died in 1848 of yellow fever while returning from the Mexican War. Because of this, Smead withdrew from Dickinson to take a position in the Coast Survey until he was able to enter West Point in 1851 where his father had been an instructor. He was commissioned four years later and became an instructor in mathematics there.

In 1861 Smead helped to organize the first company of Pennsylvania Volunteers within half an hour of receiving Lincoln’s first call for troops. He enlisted in the 2nd Artillery but was commissioned as a captain of the 5th Artillery.

Smead led his company in the battles on the Peninsula before he was killed at the Second Bull Run on August 31, 1862, when he was struck in the head by a ball from a Confederate ten-pounder cannon. He was thirty-two years old. He was buried at Ashland Cemetery in Carlisle
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, USA.

More information about other Dickinson war casualties can be found through the online project "In Remembrance" (see link for related entries below).

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Dickinson College Archives
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