Beautifully engraved certificate from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company
issued in 1894. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an old train. This item is hand signed by the Company’s Vice President ( Orland Smith ) and Treasurer and is over 115 years old. Punch cancelled through transfer agent's signature, with company's officers' signatures untouched. The certificate was issued to August Belmont & Co. and endorsed by same on the verso. EF.
Orland Smith (May 2, 1825 – October 3, 1903) was a railroad executive and a brigade commander in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He led a spirited bayonet charge during the Battle of Wauhatchie that took a significant Confederate position on a hill that now bears his name.
Smith was born in New England in Lewiston, Maine. He was educated in the local schools and became a railroad agent, serving as station manager at Lewiston until 1852 when he moved to Ohio. He became an official of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad and settled in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was a commander of a militia company in the late 1850s, the "Chillicothe Greys."
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Smith joined the Union army and became the Colonel of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, raised in Chillicothe, and trained at nearby Camp Logan. Among his volunteer soldiers was Pvt. George Nixon III, the great-grandfather of future President Nixon. The regiment saw action as a part of the Army of Virginia during the Second Battle of Bull Run, after previously serving in western Virginia and fighting at the Battle of McDowell and the Battle of Cross Keys.
Smith assumed brigade command in the XI Corps in October 1862, but he did not participate in the Battle of Chancellorsville. He returned to his command shortly before the Gettysburg Campaign. His men held Cemetery Hill on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg at the orders of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, and provided an anchor for the retreating Federal soldiers. On the second day, they helped repulse an attack by Brig. Gen. Harry T. Hays' "Louisiana Tigers".
Sent to the Western Theater in the autumn of 1863 along with the XI Corps, Smith fought at the Battle of Chickamauga. During the Chattanooga Campaign, Smith led his brigade in the Army of the Cumberland in a successful bayonet assault up a steep hill that now bears his name (Smith's Hill) during the Battle of Wauhatchie. In the army reorganization later that year, his brigade was disbanded and he returned to the command of the 73rd OVI. He was breveted as a brigadier general on March 13, 1865.
After the war, he returned to his career as a railroad officer and became President of the Cincinnati, Washington and Baltimore Railroad and later, First Vice President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, with his office in Baltimore, Maryland.
Smith died in Chicago, Illinois. He is buried in Green Lawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.
August Belmont, Sr. (December 8, 1816 – November 24, 1890) was born in Alzey, Prussia. He immigrated to New York City in 1837 after becoming the American representative of the Rothschild family's banking house in Frankfort. On receiving his American citizenship, he married Caroline Perry, daughter of Commodore Matthew Perry.
In 1844, Belmont was named the consul-general of Austria at New York. He resigned in 1850 in response to what he viewed as Austria's cruel treatment of Hungary. In the years following, he served as charg d'affaires for the United States at the Hague, as well as the American minister at the same place.
In May of 1837. nearly 250 businesses, including the Rothschilds American Agents, and major banks had collapsed just a few days before his ship landed in New York, on May 14th. August Belmont gambled that he could replace the defunct American Agency with August Belmont & Co.
, 78 Wall Street, New York City, before the slow communications of the day could deny him the opportunity to take advantage of the Panic. Seven eighths of all the businesses in America were bankrupt, and the citizens were existing on a barter system: my services for your services or goods. August Belmont, however had been well schooled in international finance, and with the backing of the Rothschild reputation, bought defunct businesses, real estate, etc. etc. on credit at about a tenth or less of their value before the crash. His business flourished.
As a delegate to the Democratic Convention in 1860, he supported Stephen A. Douglas. He was named the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee the same year in Baltimore, and held this position until his death in 1872. He energetically supported the Union cause during the Civil War, and exerted a strong influence in favour of the North upon the merchants and financiers of England and France.
An avid sportsman, the famed Belmont Stakes thoroughbred horse race is named in his honor.
His sons Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont and August Belmont, Jr. both rose to prominence in their own right.