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He joined the Army at the age of 14 and at 17 incomplete he was already ensign. He has participated in every battle that has taken place in the south of the continent since the battle of Sarandi in the Cisplatina province war of 1825, in which he has already distinguished himself by skill and bravery. He also fought at Passo do Rosario (1828), the Farroupilha Revolution (1835-1845) and the battle of Monte Caseros (1852) against the Argentine dictator Juan Manuel Rosas.
In 1856, he became a general and, nine years later, a field marshal, after organizing, in Rio Grande do Sul, the Brazilian Army that participated in the Paraguay War (1865-1870). He commanded the Brazilian troops that invaded that country on April 16, 1866. In May, he devised the strategy that allowed Brazil to win the battle of Tuiuti, the largest of the conflict. He was awarded the title of Baron and later Marquis of Erval.
From July of this year to July of the following year, he stayed in Rio Grande do Sul, gathering new contingents for the Army. He returned to the battlefield in 1868 and once again demonstrated competence, conquering the fortress of Humaitá and winning the battle of Avai. It is said that Osorio was a simple man, not aristocratic, who got along well with the soldiers and, like them, was always ready to take action.
Seven years after the end of the war, he was called by the emperor to occupy a seat in the Senate and promoted to the rank of Marshal of the Army. In 1878, he was appointed Minister of War with the rise of the Liberal Party to power. He remained in office until his death.
Historians of the time tell that, once dispatching along with other ministers before the emperor, he realized that Don Pedro was dozing without paying attention to what they said. Annoyed, Osorio thudded his saber to the floor. Abruptly awakened, the emperor admonished him: "I believe you did not drop your weapons when you were in Paraguay, Marshal." "No, Your Majesty," answered Osorius, "even because we did not doze off there in service ..."