EDWARD R.S. CANBY was born in Kentucky, but moved to Indiana with his family as a child. In 1835 he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1839. He was then commissioned a Second Lieutenant and promoted to First Lieutenant in 1846. For service during the Mexican War, he was brevetted Major and then Lieutenant Colonel. In 1855 he was made Major of the 10th U.S. Infantry. He held this post until 1860 when he commanded an expedition against the Navajo. When the Civil War broke out he drove Confederate troops out of New Mexico. On March 31, 1862, he was promoted to Brigadier-General of Volunteers and reported to the Secretary of War in Washington, DC. He was then promoted to Major-General of Volunteers and commanded the military division of the Mississippi. When the Civil War ended, he was awarded the full rank of Brigadier-General in the Army in 1866. In 1869 he consented to take command of the Department of the Columbia, with oversight of Indian tribes of the Northwest. But in 1872, believing that that they would be meeting with the leader of the Modoc tribe to arrange for a peace treaty, he and two other officers were ambushed and he was assassinated.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 5. New York: James T. White & Company.