United States Brigadier General. b. 1818 d. 1895
Donehogawa was born on a reservation in Geneseee County, New York and became a Sachem in the Seneca Tribe. Also known as Ely Samuel Parker, his "whiteman's name," he represented his tribe in Washington for twenty years and studied law extensively while there. Despite his abilities and education, he was denied permission to practice law before the bar because he was "not a United States citizen."
After twenty years in Washington, he returned to New York and furthered his education by attaining a degree in civil engineering from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. He then became superintentent of a government project in Illinois, where he met and befriended Ulysses S. Grant.
He attempted to join the United States Army and New York State Militia, but was refused a commission, once again on the basis of not being a U.S. citizen. In 1863, he finally received a commission as captain of engineers during the Civil War when qualified civil engineers were in high demand. He eventually became Grant's military secretary and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Grant's army referred to him as "The Indian." His relationship with Grant became closer as the war went on. At the Battle of Spotsylvania, Donehogawa was credited with saving General Grant's life and took on a new value to Grant as a kind of lucky charm.
Donehogawa was at Grant's side at the surrender at Appomattox Court House. According to the legend, Robert E. Lee was said to have stared at Donehogawa for several minutes before extending his hand and saying "I am glad to see one real American here." Donehogawa is reputed, by his own documentation of the events, to have replied "Now we are all Americans." Donehogawa's pencil drafted record of the surrender is the most complete and well documented report of the events of that day.
Donehogawa was promoted to Brigadier General at Appomattox Court House and became the first Native American to be appointed United States Indian Commissioner when Grant was elected president.