Alfred Gibbs was born on his father's estate of Sunswick, now within the confines of Astoria, Long Island, on April 22, 1823. He was a brother of chemist Oliver Wolcott Gibbs, son of mineralogist George Gibbs, and grandson of Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury in, the administrations of George Washington and John Adams. Young Gibbs attended school in White Plains, New York, and Dartmouth College before receiving an appointment to West Point, where he was graduated in 1846, ranking forty-second in the class. After receiving a wound and winning the brevets of first lieutenant and captain for gallantry in the Mexican War, he was attached to the headquarters of General Persifor F. Smith as aide-de-camp and served as such until 1856. From then until the beginning of the Civil War, Gibbs was on frontier duty with his troop of Mounted Rifles and was again wounded in a skirmish with Apaches at Cook's Spring, New Mexico, in 1857. On July 27, 1861, Gibbs was captured at San Augustin Springs, New Mexico, by the Confederate forces under Lieutenant Colonel John R. Baylor, in the course of the Union retreat from Fort Fillmore. He was paroled but not exchanged for more than a year. In September, 1862, he became colonel of the 130th New York Volunteer Infantry and was on duty in the area of Suffolk, Virginia, under the command of General Erasmus D. Keyes. In August, 1863, his regiment was reorganized as cavalry under the name of 1st New York Dragoons, also known as the 19th New York Cavalry. With it he guarded the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad until November, when he assumed command of the Cavalry Reserve Brigade, Army of the Potomac, guarding trains until the spring of 1864. In Grant's offensive against Richmond, Gibbs's brigade became part of the 1st Cavalry Division, which saw much hard duty until transferred to the Shenandoah for service with Philip Sheridan. As of the date of the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864, Gibbs was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. Until the surrender at Appomattox, his command played a large part in enveloping the renowned Army of Northern Virginia. Bre-vetted major general in both the regular and volunteer services, Gibbs became major of the 7th Cavalry in 1866. On December 26, 1868, he died suddenly at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, of "congestion of the brain" and was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.