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Charles Ferguson Smith

Charles Ferguson SmithAKA Charles Furguson Smith

Born: 24-Apr-1807
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Died: 25-Apr-1862
Location of death: Savannah, TN
Cause of death: War
Remains: Buried, Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Military

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Union Army General, died after Shiloh

Military service: US Army; Union Army

The American soldier Charles Ferguson Smith graduated from West Point Academy in 1825, and a few years later became an instructor there, rising eventually to be commandant. As a battalion commander he distinguished himself at the Mexican War, at Palo Alto, Resaca, Monterey and Churubusco. He commanded the Red River expedition of 1856, and served under Albert Sidney Johnston in Utah (1857-1860). On the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 he accepted a commission as brigadier-general of Union volunteers, and found himself under the command of Ulysses S. Grant, who had been his pupil at West Point. This difficult situation was made easy by Smith's loyalty to his young chief, and the old soldier led his division of raw volunteers with success at Fort Donelson. His ripe experience, dignity, and unselfish character made him Grant's mainstay in the early days. He went up the Tennessee with the first expedition, but at Savannah, Tennessee, met with a serious accident. His senior brigadier led his division at the battle of Shiloh and he died on April 25, 1862. The early close of his career in high command deprived the Union army of one of its best leaders, and his absence was nowhere more felt than on the battlefield of Shiloh, where the Federals paid heavily for the inexperience of their generals. A month before his death he had been made major-general of volunteers. William T. Sherman's later assessment of Smith's abilities, "Had C. F. Smith lived, Grant would have disappeared to history after Donelson."

    University: US Military Academy, West Point (1825)

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