Chief leading the voluntary soldiers during the late Joseon dynasty, he was a Confucian scholar with The pen name of Uiam. His ancestor originated from Goheung. At age 14, the son of Yu Jung-gon became an adopted son to his uncle Yu Jung-seon. He then took lessons under the guidance of Lee Hang-ro (pen name Hwaseo), then great Confucianist and representative thinker of the Wijeongchoksa scholastic stream (favoring Confucian order and thought and repelling foreign culture).
In 1893 (the 30th year of King Gojong), he moved to Jecheon to teach his students. In 1895, on the occasion of the Eulmisabyeon upheaval when Queen Myeongseongwanghu was killed, and of the ordinance prohibiting topknots, he was chosen to be the chief commander of the Hojwauibyeongjin volunteer soldiers in Jecheon, in association with literary friends such as Lee Pil-hui. In 1907, King Gojong was forced to retire,. At that time the Jeongmi 7 Joyak (pact) was concluded between colonialist Japan and Korea, and the military was disbanded, making it difficult for him to be active in the country. The following year, he went to Valadivostok, formed the Douigun troops on June 13, 1910, and was appointed to be chief commander of the unit. Afterwards, as the Russian oppression disbanded the unit, he evaded capture and went to Seogando in 1914. However, at 74, he died a patriotic death at Bangchi-gu, Bongcheon-seong, Seogando, on January 29, 1915 by the lunar calendar. In 1962, the Korean government, in memory of his feats, posthumously decorated him with the Order of Merit for National Foundation. He also was selected as the fighter for the national independence of the month in January 2000, by the Ministry of Patriots & Veterans Affairs.