Charles Ferguson Smith

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General Charles Ferguson Smith

Charles Ferguson Smith (1807-1862) - Born 24 Apr 1807, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Died 25 Apr 1862, Savannah, Tennessee. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in the Class of 1825 ranking 15th out of 37, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery. He returned to West Point as an instructor and was appointed Commandant of Cadets as a first lieutenant, serving in that position from 1838 to 1843.

Mexican American War

He distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War, serving under both Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, at Palo Alto, Resaca, Monterrey, and Churubusco. He received brevet promotions from major through colonel for his service in these battles and ended the war as a lieutenant colonel in the regular army. In Mexico City, he was in charge of the police guard from the end of the war until 1848. He commanded the Red River expedition in Minnesota of 1856–57, and served under Albert Sidney Johnston in Utah (1857–60), commanding the Department of Utah himself from 1860 to 1861, and the Department of Washington (at Fort Washington, Maryland) very briefly at the start of the Civil War.

U.S. Civil War

After the outbreak of the war in 1861, Smith served on recruiting duty as commander of Fort Columbus, New York. He was commissioned a brigadier general of volunteers (August 31, 1861), and as colonel in the regular army, commanding the 3rd U.S. Infantry regiment, as of September 9. He was soon transferred to the Western Theater and became a division commander in the Department of the Missouri under Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who had been one of his pupils at West Point.

He led his division of raw volunteers with success at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862. At Savannah, Tennessee, Smith jumped into a rowboat and seriously injured his leg, forcing him out of field duty. His senior brigadier led his division at the Battle of Shiloh. Smith died of an infection following his leg injury at Savannah, Tennessee, and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia.

Fort C.F. Smith in the Montana Territory was named in his honor.

Father: Dr. Samuel B. Smith, USA (1784-1834) Born 10 Jul 1784, died 28 Nov 1834.

Mother: Margaret Ferguson (1787-1861) Born 16 Sep 1787, died 1861.


  • Fanny Mactier (????-????) Born Baltimore, Maryland.



  • (1821-1825) Cadet United States Military Academy
  • (1825-1829) 2nd Lt. (1 Jul 1825), ?? Artillery, 1 Jul 1825
  • (1829-1831) 2nd Lt., United States Military Academy, West Point, Assistant Professor infantry tactics
  • (1831-1832) 2nd Lt., Adjutancy
  • (1832-) 1st Lt. (1832), Unit, Job, Dates
  • (1838-) Capt. (1838), Instructor in infantry tactics and Commandant of Cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point
  • (1846-1848) Capt., Mexican War
  • (1854-) Maj. (25 Nov 1854), 1st U.S Artillery, Job, Dates
  • (1855-) Lt. Col. (1855), 10th U.S. Infantry
  • (1856-1857) Lt. Col., Red River expedition, Minnesota
  • (1857-1860) Lt. Col., Utah, under Albert Sidney Johnston
  • (1861-1861) Brig. Gen. (Aug 1861), Volunteers, Paducah Kentucky
  • (1861-1862) Col. (Sep 1861), 3rd U.S. Infantry
  • (1862-) Maj. Gen. (), Volunteers
  • (1862) Maj. Gen. Volunteers, Died 25 Apr 1862, Savannah, Tennessee

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  1. Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  2. Robertson Jr., James I., article in Civil War Times, February 1986, p. 25.
  3. Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.


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