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The military grave of civilian Albert B. Smith

[Photo Story]

Albert B. Smith’s Grave

He participated in the siege of The Presidio at San Diego

UPDATE

[Printed below is the text of an email sent to Reviewer Magazine from Linda Jacobo, regarding the Albert Smith grave site. ~Editor]

Linda Jacobo
Jul 2

“Thanks for your quick response. I just want to clarify something in your article. As the great-great-granddaughter of Albert Benjamin Smith, I was delighted to see an article written about him. While your piece about him is correct, I want to share that if you had looked behind the stone, you would have seen his headstone. He was re-interred back in the 20’s and placed as close as possible to the rock. I’ve attached a recent photo of his headstone with his great-great-great-great granddaughter. Thanks for sharing the story of our ancestor… Linda”

Below is a photo provided by Linda Jacobo:

Albert Smith, civilian Battle Of The Presidio Of San Diego participant's current grave site.

Civilian Battle Of The Presidio Of San Diego participant Albert Smith’s actual current grave site.

Memorial Day, 2013

Here’s a bit of seldom read American history. Atop a seaside hill in San Diego, inside the old section of the Fort Rosecreans National Cemetery in Point Loma, is a small granite boulder with the inscription for Albert B. Smith, a civilian who is remembered for sneaking ashore in 1846 during the pivotal siege of the Presidio at San Diego and spiking the cannons of the Mexican Army. Later, he bravely climbed the Presidio flagpole while being fired upon by snipers and nailed the American flag to it. We all know how that battle ended. Gold was then discovered up north. In a few years California was a state.

A headstone for Harold Dean Tatum stands in front of Smith’s marker. Why these two men appear to share the same plot is a mystery. At first I thought maybe Tatum was a descendant of Smith’s but a cursory internet search revealed no other relationship between them. On one website Tatum is listed as being a Vietnam War casualty, and his year of death is 1967. So maybe he was interred before they expanded the cemetery and were able to provide him with his own grave site. But still, it seems kind of bogus.

Below: the graves site, photographed on Memorial Day, © Robert Rowsey 2013, for Reviewer Magazine.

The military grave of  Albert B. Smith, a civilian, at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.  Photo by Rob Rowsey.

The military grave of Albert B. Smith, a civilian, at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Photo © Robert Rowsey 2013, for Reviewer Magazine.

Albert B. Smith's grave marker among the other headstones, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.Photo  © Robert Rowsey 2013, for Reviewer Magazine.

Albert B. Smith’s grave marker among the other headstones, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
Photo © Robert Rowsey 2013, for Reviewer Magazine.

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