Civil War Union Brigadier General. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, Class of 1846, he graduated 32nd of 59 graduates. He served with the 1st Dragoons in Mexico during the Mexican War, where he was captured while reconnoitering near Buena Vista, and was released 8 days after the battle. From 1851 to 1861, he fought the Apaches in Arizona and New Mexico, and commanded Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1861. During the Civil War, he fought at Fort Smith, Fort Leavenworth, Wilson's Creek, Antietam, Fredericksburg. and Brice's Crossroads. He was appointed Brigadier General, US Volunteers, at Wilson's Creek for his coolness and valor, taking command at the critical moment when General Nathaniel Lyon was killed. Twice brevetted to Brigadier General and once to Major General. On June 10, 1864, he was severely defeated by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest at Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi, and his career suffered for it. A Board of Inquiry was critical of his performance during that battle. He was appointed Colonel, 7th United States Cavalry, on May 6, 1869, but was detailed several times to other jobs, leaving his second-in-command, Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer, to actually command the unit in the field. After the 7th Cavalry was nearly destroyed in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, he retook command in October 1876, with Lieutenant Colonel Elmer Otis as the new second-in-command, replacing the dead Custer. From 1881 to 1885, he was governor of the United States Soldier's Home in Washington DC, and he retired on June 11, 1886 to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he resided until his death.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Jerusha Wilcox Sturgis