Charles W. Smith was born in 1827 in Erie County, New York.
Charles was married to New York native Susan (b. 1830), possibly in New York, and they had at least three children: Mary E. (b. 1850), Edward (b. 1853) and Grace (b. 1858). They moved to Michigan from New York sometime between 1853 and 1858, and by 1860 Charles was working as a grocery clerk living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward.
He stood 5’5” with blue eyes, sandy hair and a light complexion and was 34 years old and probably still living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted as a Fifer in Company B on May 13, 1861. On September 17, 1861, Captain Fred Shriver of Company B wrote that Smith “has had a disease of the lips and mouth so that he is unfit for a fifer.” He was discharged on October 14, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia, for chronic ulceration of the mouth.
It is not known if Charles returned to Michigan after the war.
He eventually became a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association.
In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 903667).
His widow applied for and received a pension (no. 676055).