Breckinridge participated in the campaigns of Millspring, Shiloh, Gulf, Atlanta, and Nashville. He was promoted to Major for service with General Sherman before Atlanta. On January 30, 1890, Breckinridge was promoted to brigadier general and Inspector General of the Army. He was promoted to Major General in the Spanish-American War. Tragically his eldest son Joseph Cabell Breckinridge was killed in the events leading up to the war. General Breckinridge was president of the District of Columbia Society and vice-president general of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Gen. Breckinridge was married to Louise Ludlow Dudley of Lexington, Kentucky in July 1868.