|William "Extra Billy" Smith commanded a brigade in Jubal Early's
division of I Corps. While contracting for a daily postal route between
Washington, DC and the then state capital, Milledgeville, GA, during
President Andrew Jackson's administration in the 1830s, he extended the
route to numerous spurs for which he was given extra payments. When
President Jackson's Postmaster General came under scrutiny for his
payments to contractors, Smith's "extras" were discovered, and hence
the nickname "Extra Billy."
On 1 July, Smith's brigade was at the rear of Early's column approaching Gettysburg along the Harrisburg Pike. Hearing a report from Smith of a Federal corps approaching on his left, Early held Smith's brigade in the rear to cover his flank. While disbelieving the rumors, Early also sent John Gordon's brigade to support Smith. The loss of these two brigades came at the time that Richard Ewell was making the decision whether or not to continue the attack to Cemetery Hill that afternoon.
Tagg, L., The Generals of Gettysburg. Savas Publishing Co., Campbell, CA, 1998.
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