Biography[edit | edit source]
He graduated from Yale University in 1829, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and practised in New York, where he was master in chancery from 1839 until 1844. In November 1851, he was the Whig candidate for New York State Attorney General but was defeated by Democrat Levi S. Chatfield in a very close election. In November 1854, he was the candidate of the American or Know Nothing Party for Governor of New York, and came in third with a very large vote.
In 1861, he raised the 78th New York Volunteers, in which he served as colonel. He was captured in August 1862, and confined in Libby Prison until October of that year, when he was released on parole. He was promoted brigadier general on 13 January 1863, and ordered to appoint a cadre of officers and to go to Louisiana to raise five regiments of African American troops, afterward increased to a corps. This was the first order issued by the U. S. government for the raising of African American troops. He was brevetted major general of U. S. volunteers on 13 March 1865, was mustered out on 24 August 1865, and was made major general in November 1865.