From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

William H. Smith '46

Date of birth: 1822

Date of death: 1850

Age: unknown

Lucky Bag

The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.


William Henry Smith was lost in 1850. From We Relate:

Born in 1822; entered the U. S. Navy as a midshipman; obtained a leave of absence in 1850 to enter a private maritime enterprise, and was lost at sea in that year off the Sandwich (now called Hawaiian) Islands.

He was appointed to the Naval Academy from Virginia.

William was the son of Elizabeth and George; George was at various times Governor of Virginia and a US Congressman.

He appears as a Passed Midshipman in the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps of 1852.

From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Midshipman, 31 July, 1840. Passed Midshipman, 11 July, 1846. Last appearance on Records of Navy Department, 1852.

This "appearance in the records of the Navy Department" was specifically the 1853 Register of the Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps: "Passed Midshipman William H. Smith, supposed to have been lost at sea in 1850."

There is no indication of why his loss was not previously reported; others in this document died in 1852 or early 1853. Elsewhere in the report, oddly, he is listed as a midshipman preparing for examination. Meanwhile, his position in Memorial Hall — the very first name — indicates he was lost sometime before August 1847.

Memorial Hall Error

William was not lost while in service to the country and should not be included in Memorial Hall. (Also, he is listed as an Ensign; however, this rank did not exist until 1862. Last mention is as a Passed Midshipman. )

Class of 1846

William is one of 13 members of the Class of 1846 on Virtual Memorial Hall.