William Smith was born in 1839 in New Castle. Before the war he was a Morocco leather dresser in Wilmington.

He had joined the 1st Delaware Infantry (three months) as a private, and went on to become a sergeant in Company A of the three years regiment when it was reconstituted on August 19, 1861. By July of 1863 he had been promoted to lieutenant.

At the Battle of Gettysburg Smith took command of the regiment after Lieutenant Colonel Edward P. Harris was put under arrest on July 2nd for withdrawing the regiment without authorization and Captain Thomas Hizard was wounded on July (see the monument to the 1st Delaware at Gettysburg).

Smith was killed at Gettysburg on July 3 during Pickett’s Charge.