Eight Is Enough
There are a couple of versions of this story in our family. My grandma’s version was that there were “six sons, all over six feet tall, who went to war and all six came back.” Grandma was never known for understatement, but she missed this one by two. There were, in fact, eight brothers who went to war and eight came back. Maybe she chose to ignore the ones under six feet tall. My great-grandfather, Henry Elliot Smith of Harnett County, and seven of his brothers all served in various capacities in the Civil War, and here is what we know about them. Alex was a person of some rank in the Cumberland Plough Boys, a volunteer company. Curtis and James served in Texas and Arkansas. Brother Doug found military life not to his liking at all. At the end of his hitch he hurried home and never left. Brothers Farquhard and Henry served to the end, mainly under Lee in Virginia. Jess was in the fighting only briefly, seeing combat twice in the month before the war ended. The only brother who, according to the family, thrived on the camp life was Edward, an officer who served under Gen. Jubal Early. After the war, a family member asked Eddie how all eight could have seen so much war and yet come home unmarked. “We were great dodgers,” he explained.