Embury D. Osband was born in Ontario County, New York on June 6, 1832. The son of a Methodist preacher, by the age of fifteen he was teaching in a local school and at age eighteen was the principal of a grade school, despite not attending college. At nineteen, he started a business providing books to schools. In 1856, Osband married and moved to Chicago where he entered a successful news publishing business. All this time, he studied military tactics on his own.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Osband joined Barker’s Dragoons and later organized Company A, 4th Illinois Cavalry, and served as captain. In 1863, he was promoted colonel and assigned to recruit the 1st Mississippi Colored Cavalry, a unit composed of former slaves. Redesignated the 3rd United States Colored Cavalry, this regiment would become one of the finest Union cavalry regiments serving in Mississippi. In recognition of his abilities, Osband was promoted to Brevet Brigadier General on October 5, 1864. He served ably throughout the war.
(1) Osband photo: http://www.cowanauctions.com
(2) Osband grave: http://www.findagrave.com