Caspar Frederick Goodrich was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 7, 1847, the son of William Goodrich and Sarah Ann Bearden. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1864, he served on multiple ships and at many shore installations; he also taught at the academy. In 1884, he was stationed on the Lancaster , the flagship of the European Squadron. Goodrich commanded three ships from 1891 to 1896 and then became president of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. During the Spanish-American War, he received the surrender of Spanish forces at Manzanillo, Cuba.
After the war, Goodrich commanded at the Philadelphia and Portsmouth Navy Yards and aboard multiple vessels. On February 17, 1904, he was promoted to rear admiral and commander-in-chief of the Pacific Squadron, a position he held for three years. He retired in 1909 after two additional years of service at the New York Navy Yard, but was recalled to active duty during World War I, when he oversaw the Pay Officers' Material School at Princeton University. He retired again in November 1919, and he maintained an interest in naval history and theory throughout the remainder of his life. Caspar F. Goodrich died on January 26, 1925. He and his wife, Eleanor Milnor (d. 1908), had three children: Eleanor, Caspar (1881-1907), and Gladys. Caspar (1881-1907), a navy lieutenant, died in an accidental explosion on the Georgia .