Smith Dykins Atkins was nominated by President Abraham Lincoln to be promoted to Brevet Brigadier General January 12th 1865.
Smith Dykins Atkins was born June 9th 1836 in Horseheads, New York the son of Adna S and Sarah (Dykins) Atkins. His family moved to Illinois in 1845 where he attended the Rock River Seminary in Mount Morris, Illinois. He had a law practice and was the editor of the Mount Morris Gazette. He worked for Abraham Lincoln’s election in 1860.
At the call for Union troops following the firing on Fort Sumter, Atkins became the first man from Stephenson County, Illinois to enlist. He was appointed Captain of the 11th Illinois Infantry April 30th 1861, and then Major in early 1862. Due to illness he resigned in April 1862, but was back in service by September 1862 as the Colonel of the 92nd Illinois Mounted Infantry. In February 1863 Atkins was commanding a brigade in the Union Army of Kentucky. He led a brigade of cavalry during the March to the Sea. President Abraham Lincoln nominated Atkins to receive the promotion grade of Brevet Brigadier General January 12th 1865, which was confirmed by the United States Senate in February of that year.
Following the war Atkins returned to Illinois, but not before meeting and marrying Ella Swain the daughter of David Swain who was the president of the University of North Carolina. Atkins became the editor of the Freeport, Illinois newspaper and the city’s postmaster. He wrote two books, and served as the first president of the Freeport Public Library. Atkins died March 27th 1913 in Freeport, Illinois and is buried in the Freeport City Cemetery.