The Houston (Texas) Civil War Round Table presented a University of Tennessee at Martin faculty member an award for his American Civil War scholarship. Dr. Timothy B. Smith, history lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy, was presented the Frank E. Vandiver Award of Merit in May. The award honors Smith’s contributions to the historiography of the Civil War and his service as an author, National Park Service ranger, tour guide, speaker and preservationist during a career spanning more than 20 years.
The Vandiver Award was first presented in 1982 and recognizes contributions to Civil War scholarship or preservation efforts by an individual or an institution. Smith addressed the Houston Civil War Round Table in March and is the award’s 40th recipient.
“The HCWRT was extraordinarily fortunate to have a historian with the acclaimed stature of Dr. Smith as the recipient of our award,” said round table President Gene Boisaubin in a news release announcing the honor.
“The HCWRT was extraordinarily fortunate to have a historian with the acclaimed stature of Dr. Smith as the recipient of our award,” said round table President Gene Boisaubin in a news release announcing the honor. “His presentation epitomized those same scholarship attributes as well as being quite entertaining.”
The Mississippi native began teaching at UT Martin in 2007. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from the University of Mississippi and a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University. In addition to many articles and essays, Smith is the author, editor, or co-editor of approximately 20 books. His latest work, “Early Struggles for Vicksburg: The Mississippi Central Campaign and Chickasaw Bayou, October 25-December 31, 1862” was released this year.
Smith was also featured in a 2020 three-night miniseries on The History Channel titled “Grant” where he appeared as an expert historian on Civil War general and 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. In the series, Smith focused predominantly on Grant’s strategy and success at the Battle of Shiloh. While the battle only lasted two days, it was the bloodiest and most costly battle to date in the Civil War.
“My major area of research is the Civil War in the Mississippi Valley, which includes Grant’s early war activity, so I’ve studied Grant thoroughly at Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh and on down to Vicksburg,” Smith said in 2020. “Plus, I’m co-editor, with John F. Marszalek at Mississippi State University’s Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, of a book series with Southern Illinois University Press entitled ‘The World of Ulysses S. Grant.’ So, I’ve been studying and working on Grant a while now.” His work with The History Channel continued earlier this year when Smith appeared in the “Abraham Lincoln” documentary that aired in February.
“We are proud of Dr. Smith and his receipt of this award. UT Martin and the Selmer Center are lucky to have a history professor of his caliber and reputation.”
Smith teaches for the UT Martin McNairy County Center/Selmer, to the university’s other regional centers through distance learning, and he also teaches for UT Martin Online. “We had one student postpone his graduation due to his desire to take one of Dr. Smith’s classes the following semester,” said Alan Youngerman, Selmer Center director. “We are proud of Dr. Smith and his receipt of this award. UT Martin and the Selmer Center are lucky to have a history professor of his caliber and reputation.”