Charles Henry Davis, an American naval officer, born in Boston, Mass., Jan. 16, 1807. He entered the navy as midshipman in 1823, and from 1844 to 1849 was assistant in the coast survey. In 1846-'9 he was engaged in a survey of the waters about Nantucket, in the course of which he discovered the "new south shoal," and several smaller shoals, directly in the track of ships sailing between New York and Europe, and of coasting vessels from Boston. These discoveries were thought to account for several wrecks and accidents before unexplained, and they called forth the special acknowledgments of insurance companies and merchants. During and after his connection with the coast survey, he was appointed on several commissions to examine the harbors of Boston, New York, Charleston, etc. These investigations led him to the study of the laws of tidal action, the results of which are given in his " Memoir upon the Geological Action of the Tidal and other Currents of the Ocean" ("Memoirs of the American Academy," new series, vol. iv.), and the "Law of Deposit of the Flood Tide" ("Smithsonian Contributions," vol. iii.). The "American Nautical Almanac " owes its foundation directly to his efforts.

He was appointed the first superintendent of the work in 1849, and continued at the head of this establishment till the autumn of 1856, when he was ordered to naval service in the Pacific, as commander of the sloop of war St. Mary's. After the breaking out of the civil war he was assigned to the Mississippi squadron, of which he was appointed flag officer, May 9, 1862, and on the 11th repulsed an attack by the confederate flotilla. He in turn attacked the latter, June 6, opposite Memphis, capturing or destroying all but one vessel; this action was immediately followed by the surrender of Memphis. He then joined Farragut, and was engaged in various operations near Vicks-burg and in the Yazoo river. He was made lieutenant in 1834, commander in 1854, captain in 1861, commodore in 1862, and rear admiral in 1863. In 1862 he was appointed chief of the bureau of navigation; in 1865-'7 he was superintendent of the naval observatory at Washington, and in 1867-'9 commander of the South Atlantic squadron, after which he resumed his scientific duties at Washington. Besides articles on astronomy and geodesy, he has published a translation of Gauss's Theoria Motus Corporum Ccelestium (Boston, 1858).