Others, by name, were suspected of foul play with Black recruits. General Jacob H. Smith, enlisted early in the Civil War, but was disabled in Battle of Shiloh. He tried to return to duty that summer, but the wound would not heal properly, so he became a member of the Invalid Corps, serving out the remainder of the Civil War as a mustering officer/recruiter in Louisville for three years. His service record states that he was good at recruiting colored troops.
In 1869, Smith's father-in-law, Daniel Havrety claimed bankruptcy. The lawyers for the bankruptcy court noticed a tremendous enlargement of Jacob Smith's assets while in Louisville, from $4,000 in 1862 to $40,000 in 1895. Smith admitted that he was involved in a brokerage scheme using bounty money for army recruits to finance a side business and speculations in whisky, gold, and diamonds. Smith said he receipted for a package sent via Express from New Orleans to Cleveland. The package came from his father-in-law and was addressed to Smith's mother-in-law. Smith later learned the package contained $13,000.
In 1869, Smith was trying to get a temporary army judge advocate position converted into a permanent position. One of the parties in the bankruptcy case, John McClain, informed the Senate Committee on Military Affairs about Smith’s bounty brokerage scheme.
Smith wrapped himself in the flag and argued to the committee that he had been in seven engagements and had been wounded in the Battle of Shiloh, and referring to himself said: “one who took upon himself all the odium that the rebels and conservatives of Louisville, Kentucky, heaped upon him, by being the first officer, to my knowledge, who commenced mustering into service the colored man in Kentucky during the year 1863.” Smith said that he had scoured Kentucky’s prison pens, jails, and workhouses to find these men. He concluded that his only aim was to serve his God and his country properly. Smith admitted to speculating, but justified it by saying that others had made three times as much money as he had in Louisville during the war, and he had not defrauded anyone.
His military superiors did not accept this patriotic excuse. So Smith wrote a more apologetic explanation, painting himself as a gullible dupe. Everyone who could substantiate his story had either died or left the country. Smith had also conveniently destroyed or lost all of his own bank account records for that period. Smith insisted he had not cheated any of the colored recruits out of their $300 bounty money/enlistment bonus.
Military officials did not believe Smith. Smith’s temporary appointment as judge advocate was revoked by the President and it was recommended by Joseph Holt that the entire file of papers be sent to the Senate Committee. Holt mentioned by Smith’s own testimony how Smith felt it was alright to mislead and deceive military auditors. “By his conflicting statements and his unfortunate explanation, he is placed in a dilemma full of embarrassment.”
Smith would not be punished properly until he was a general in the Philippine War in 1902. During this war he had ordered his officers...
"I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States.” General Jacob H. Smith said.
Since it was a popular belief among the Americans serving in the Philippines that native males were born with bolos in their hands, Major Littleton "Tony" Waller asked "I would like to know the limit of age to respect, sir?."
"Ten years," Smith said.
"Persons of ten years and older are those designated as being capable of bearing arms?"
"Yes." Smith confirmed his instructions a second time.
As a consequence of this order, Smith became known as "Howling Wilderness Smith".
In May of that year Smith faced court-martial for his orders, being tried not for murder or other war crimes, but for "conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline". The court-martial found Smith guilty and sentenced him "to be admonished by the reviewing authority."
To ease the subsequent public outcry in America, Secretary of War Elihu Root recommended that Smith be retired. President Theodore Roosevelt accepted this recommendation, and ordered Smith's retirement from the Army, with no additional punishment.