Born at Kingston, Ohio, 6 Sept., 1819; died near Redondo, California 11 March, 1898. The family came originally from Holland and settled in Pennsylvania, moving thence to Ohio.His mother was a daughter of Samuel Hopkins, a soldier of the Revolution and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He graduated at the U. S. Military Academy, West Point, in July 1842, and after a brief service in the engineer corps returned to the Academy as a professor, remaining there until 1847. It was during this period that he became a Catholic. In 1854 he resigned from the army, but at the breaking out of the Civil War he was made a colonel of volunteers and, in June, 1861, a brigadier-general of regulars. During the succeeding years he held various important commands in West Virginia, Mississippi and Tennessee, until 19 and 20 Sept., 1863, when he was defeated by Gen. Bragg, at the battle of Chickamauga. Then after a short period of service in the department of Missouri he was relieved of all command. Up to this he had been uniformly successful as a good fighter and military strategist. At the close of the war he resigned from the army and, in 1868, served as U. S. Minister to Mexico, where from 1869 to 1881 he devoted himself to railroad and industrial enterprises. He was elected to Congress as a Democrat, in 1880, and again in 1882. From 1885 to 1893 he was registrar of the U. S. Treasury. In 1889 Congress restored him to the rank and pay of a brigadier general of the regular army on the retired list.
The Catholic Encyclopedia (1911)