Charles Henry Smith was born on November 1, 1827 in Hollis, Maine. A graduate of Waterville College, he was a teacher and studied law in Eastport before the war.

On October 19, 1861 he became captain of Company D, 1st Maine Cavalry. He rose to the rank of colonel and command of the regiment. Smith was wounded on June 24, 1864 at Saint Mary’s Church, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry there. He mustered out of volunteer service on August 1, 1865.

After the war he stayed in the Regular Army as colonel of the 28th and then the 19th United States Infantry Regiments.

Smith died in Washington D.C. on July 17, 1902 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.