Pvt. ANDREW JACKSON SMITH
55th Massachusetts Vol. Inf. (Colored)
Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina
30 Nov 1864
The Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina, took place on November 30, 1864.
When the leading brigade had been driven back and the Color-bearer was shot and killed.
Pvt Private Andrew Jackson Smith (later promoted to Color- Sergeant), retrieved and saved both the State and Federal flags.
Andrew Jackson Smith, was just a kid from Clinton, Illinois, a member of the 55th Massachusetts Voluntary Infantry, A unit of African American men who were not even given the privilege of being considered men or allowed to be citizens.
Yet Smith like so many other Black Americans fought without pay.
Smith distinguished himself by saving his regimental colors after the color bearer was killed Before the advent of Radio and other battlefield communications, it was the Unit colors that were used to direct the battle.
Not having one’s colors available was like having a complete commo blackout on the battlefield today.
The 55th Regiment ran down the enemy and engaged in Skirmishes and a running battle.
The regiment found themselves in a swamp facing a rise in the topography that concealed the confederate Army in wait.
The surrounding woods and thick underbrush made maneuvering as a unit all but impossible bit the 55th and 34th regiments formed columns to advance on the enemy position in a flanking movement.
As the Confederates repelled the bulk of the Union advance, the 55th and 54th regiments continued to advance.
Forced into a choke point crossing a swamp, Color-Sergeant was killed by an exploding shell, and Pvt Smith took the Regimental Colors from his hand and carried them through heavy grape and canister fire.
In spite of more than half of the officers and a third of the enlisted soldiers of the 54th and 55th being either killed or wounded and Combat ineffective, Smith continued to expose himself to enemy fire by carrying the colors throughout the battle, allowing the command to effectively communicate to the troops.