1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Smith, Charles Ferguson
|←Smith, Charles Emory||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 25
Smith, Charles Ferguson
|See also Charles Ferguson Smith on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
SMITH, CHARLES FERGUSON (1807-1862), American soldier, 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 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.