The New York State native entered the U.S. Military Academy at the age of 14 and graduated as a second lieutenant in 1833. He joined the 4th Infantry Regiment.
The popular officer rose through the ranks quickly and eventually became a lieutenant colonel. His participation in the Mexican War, the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Buena Vista are illustrated by the monument.
According to the Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America, Bliss died of Yellow Fever in 1853 and was buried in New Orleans. A year later the El Paso post was named Fort Bliss in his honor. He had never visited El Paso. His body was later moved to Fort Bliss National Cemetery in 1955.