Raised in Monroe, Michigan he graduated from West Point in 1861. In 1863 he became a Brigadier General and commanded the Michigan Cavalry Brigade. He led his men to victory over the Confederates at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. After the Civil War he was appointed Lt. Colonel of the US Seventh Cavalry. On June 25, 1876 he gained notoriety at the Battle of the Little Big Horn where he and 266 others died.