A SOLDIER who left Edinburgh to fight in the American Civil War is set to have his name added to a monument honouring veterans of the conflict.
Plans have been drawn up to inscribe the name of Colonel Robert Alexander Smith, who died in Kentucky in 1862, on to the Lincoln Memorial in the Old Calton Cemetery on Waterloo Place.
The monument already bears the names of six men from Edinburgh who fought for the Union side during the war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865.
But if the latest plans are approved, Col Smith would become the first man from the Confederate army to be honoured on the memorial – believed to be the only one of its kind outside the United States. The plans have been drawn up by Rev Dr Bill Mackie, secretary of the Scottish Veterans Association, who will be leading a memorial service later this year in memory of Scots who fought and died during the American Civil War.
Rev Mackie, who described himself as chaplain-at-large for the 5th. Kentucky Infantry, said: "The Lincoln Monument was built in the late 1800s and paid for by the then American Consul General to Scotland.
"However, only known Union supporters were added to the list of those named on the monument. We are now trying to turn wheels to ensure that those who fought for the Confederate cause are also honoured.
"We have been in contact with the council and they have told us that they will refer us on to the correct people who can deal with our request, although its unlikely that anything will get done this year.
"But we hope that soldiers like Col Robert Smith will be able to have their name added to the others on the monument.
"We are constantly researching and trying to find more Scottish and Edinburgh soldiers who took part in the war.
"However, even if we are not allowed to alter the monument, we will try to put up a plaque next to it with the names on them."
Col Smith, who left Edinburgh at the age of 15, was just 26 when he died from injuries sustained in battle at Kentucky.
He had been the commanding officer of the 10th Mississippi Volunteers, who fought in the front line at the Battle of Munfordville.
Rev Mackie said he was also keen to have the name of another veteran, Private James B Harden, inscribed on the monument.
Private Harden was born in the US in 1845 and fought for the Union, despite the fact that his father was a major on the Confederate side.
Following the war, he moved to Edinburgh in 1887 with his young bride Anne and their infant daughter and eventually died in 1919, when he was buried in a pauper's grave in Piershill.
The plan to add more names to the monument comes after the Scottish Veterans Association announced the date of its memorial service.
The organisation has scheduled the service for July 19, which is nearest available date to the anniversary of the first battle of Manassas in 1861, which is otherwise known as the Battle of Bull Run.
FIERCE CONFLICT KILLED 620,000
THE American Civil War was a conflict between the United States of America – referred to as the "Union" – and the Southern slave states of the Confederate States of America.
It lasted from 1861–1865 until victory was eventually secured by the Union led by Abraham Lincoln and his Republican Party.
It was the bloodiest war in US history, with 620,000 soldiers killed, and ended slavery in the US, restored the Union by settling the issues of nullification and secession, and strengthened the role of the federal government.
Many Scots who emigrated during the years preceding the war fought in the conflict, while others travelled across the Atlantic to fight in "Scottish regiments" – such as the 79th New York Highlanders – once war had broken out.
• Wikipedia entry on the American Civil War