Smith Miles Clay was born July 10, 1845 in Beekmantown, New York.

At age 18 he enlisted in Co. E  2nd Regiment USSS from Plymouth Vermont on Dec. 5, 1863 and mustered in as a private on Jan. 2, 1864.

His brother George A. Clay had already enlisted at age 23 in the same regiment on Aug. 11, 1862. Another brother, Charles H. Clay, enlisted in Co. H of the 96th NY Infantry.

 

On Nov. 10, 1864 while on picket duty before Petersburg his gun recoiled and he injured his thumb and the little finger of his right hand. After time spent in the hospital he rejoined his regiment and on the 8th of Dec. 1864 went with them for the purpose of destroying the railroad south of Petersburg. While on that duty he and several others of his regiment were taken sick on the march. They were given ambulance passes but were captured trying to get to the transportation and were taken prisoner by the enemy. He was sent to Richmond, Virginia where he remained as a POW until he was paroled to Annapolis MD about Feb. 5th 1865. He was immediately taken to No. 2 General Hospital located on College Green and then was sent home to Vermont on furlough on Feb. 20th. He returned to parole camp at Annapolis around April 11th. He rejoined his regiment about April 30, 1865 at Danville VA. He had been transferred to Co. G of the 4th Vermont Infantry on Feb. 25, 1865 and he mustered out of the service July 13, 1865 and returned to Plymouth, Vermont.

He married Emma A. Freeman at Lebanon, NH on March 4, 1868 and together they raised seven children. Most of his life was spent in farming in Lebanon. He died on Aug. 16, 1896 in Hull, Massachusetts as a result of being run over by an electric car (trolley). He had taken up work as a section hand and had jumped off the tracks when he saw a car approaching, only to be hit by another one coming in the opposite direction.

 

He was buried with Grand Army honors in Glenwood Cemetery in Lebanon.