Civil War Union Brigadier General. He commanded the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, one of the most famous Zouave regiments, known for their distinct uniforms. Born of French Huguenot ancestry, he was descended from a line of soldiers, with his grandfather having fought in the Revolutionary War and his father during the War of 1812. After graduating from Columbia College in New York City, New York, he became a successful mahogany importer. In 1833 he joined the New York State Militia as a private and served until 1859, eventually rising to the rank of colonel. After to outbreak of the American Civil Was in April 1861, he raised a new regiment of volunteers called the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry and was made its colonel the following May. On June 10, 1861 his unit fought at the Battle of Big Bethel in Virginia. In August 1861 he was appointed to the rank of brigadier general and it was confirmed by the US Senate in February 1862. He commanded a brigade under Union General James B. Ricketts and participated in several engagements, including the Battle of Cedar Mountain (August 9, 1862) and the 2nd Battle of Bull Run (August 28 through 30, 1862) in Virginia. In September 1862 he replaced Ricketts as the division commander and saw action at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland. He then took a leave of absence and in January 1863 he resigned his commission after losing his appeal to regain command of his brigade. In July 1866 US President Andrew Johnson nominated him for the rank of brevet major general which was confirmed by the US Senate later that month. In 1873 he was appointed New York City Police Commissioner and received notoriety when he used the police force to forcibly suppressed a labor protest at Tompkins Square Park in January 1874, after which he resigned from the position. From 1884 until 1886 he served as New York City's Dock Master. He died following a three-year illness at the age of 75.
Bio by: William Bjornstad