Gustavus Woodson Smith (November 30, 1821 – June 24, 1896), more commonly known as G.W. Smith, was a career U.S. Army officer who fought in the Mexican-American War, a civil engineer, and a major general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
Smith fought in the Mexican-American War, winning two brevet promotions for his actions there. On April 18, 1847 he was made brev. First Lieutenant for the Battle of Cerro Gordo, and on August 20, 1847 made brev. Captain for the Battle of Contreras. On March 3, 1853 Smith was promoted to First Lieutenant. After serving in the Mexican War, he resigned his commission on December 18, 1854 to become a civilian engineer in New York City, and would become Streets Commissioner there from 1858-61.
On May 31, 1862 Smith briefly took command of what would become the Army of Northern Virginia after Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was wounded, due to his being the senior major general in Johnston's army. However, he suffered what was likely a nervous breakdown upon taking command and Jefferson Davis replaced him with Robert E. Lee the following day on June 1.
Smith then commanded the defenses around Richmond beginning on July 2 until August 30, then he headed the Department of Richmond until December 12. The Department of North Carolina & Southern Virginia was added to this department on September 19, and Smith would retain its command through January 14, 1863. During this period he served briefly as the interim Confederate States Secretary of War from November 17 through November 21, 1862. He resigned his commission as a major general on February 17 1863, and became a volunteer aide to General P. G. T. Beauregard throughout the rest of that year. Smith was also the superintendent of the Etowah Iron Works in 1863 until June 1, 1864, when he was commissioned a major general in the Georgia state militia and commanded its first division to the end of the war.