Blacksmith Peter Schmith

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

Peter Schmith (Schmidt) is listed in the official rosters under the Americanized "Smith." Schmith was one of Minnesota's many German immigrants who volunteered to defend the unity of his adopted nation. He enlisted on September 23, 1861 at Fort Snelling as a special member of each cavalry company's manpower, a farrier. Blacksmith's were kept quite busy during the Fifth Iowa's sojourns through southern battlefields.

Enlisting as a mature man of forty, Peter found himself twice the age of most of his compatriots. Originally serving in Company G, he transferred to Company I in March of 1862.

Peter would visit to his beloved St. Paul during the regiment's reenlistment furlough. However, Brackett's Battalion would not return to the Fifth Iowa for the resumption of its duties against the Confederates. Instead, they were detached from the regiment, reassigned to Minnesota, and assigned to contain the Native America threat on the frontier. With his fellow veterans, Schmith accompanied General Sully on the Northwest Indian Expedition through the Dakota and Montana territories. Fortunately for his family, Schmith survived both Confederate bullets and Indian arrows.

Peter and His Wife

The photograph and supplemental information was provided by Schmith's great-grandson, Stephen Schweyen.

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