Smith, Charles Ferguson was born on April 24, 1807 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Son of Samuel Blair and Mary (Ferguson) Smith.
Graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1825.
Instructor infantry tactics United States Military Academy, later adjutant, then commander of cadets, 1829-1843. Commissioned First lieutenant 2d Artillery, United States Army, 1832, captain, 1838. In command of battalion, distinguished in battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma (Texas), 1846.
Brevetted major and lieutenant colonel for service in Mexican campaign, 1846. Brevetted colonel, 1847. Commissioned major 1st Artillery, 1854.
Lieutenant colonel 10th Infantry, 1855. Led expedition to Red River of North, 1856. In command of Department of Utah, 1860-1861.
Commissioned brigadier general United States Volunteers, also colonel United States Army, 1861, commanded District of W. Kentucky. Commanded 2d Division, Grant’s Army, fts. Henry and Donelson (Tennessee) and Fort Heiman (Kentucky).
Commissioned major general United States Volunteers, 1862.