Don Carlos Buell

Don Carlos Buell

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Don Carlos Buell'
Start a new discussion about 'Don Carlos Buell'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Don Carlos Buell was a career United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Buell led Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 armies in two great Civil War battles—Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

 and Perryville
Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a...

. The nation was angry at his failure to defeat the outnumbered Confederates after Perryville, or to secure East Tennessee. Historians concur that he was brave and industrious, and a master of logistics, but was too cautious and too rigid to meet the great challenges he faced in 1862. Buell was relieved of field command in late 1862 and made no more significant military contributions.

Early life


Buell was born in Lowell, Ohio
Lowell, Ohio
Lowell is a village in Washington County, Ohio, United States, along the Muskingum River. The population was 628 at the 2000 census.-History:...

. He was a first cousin of George P. Buell
George P. Buell
George Pearson Buell was an American civil engineer and soldier. He served as a Union Army general during the American Civil War, and remained in the United States Army following the conflict.-Early life and career:...

, also a Union general.

He lived in Indiana for a time before the Civil War. He graduated from the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 in 1841 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Infantry regiment. In the Mexican-American War, he served under both Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor was the 12th President of the United States and an American military leader. Initially uninterested in politics, Taylor nonetheless ran as a Whig in the 1848 presidential election, defeating Lewis Cass...

 and Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

. He was brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

ed three times for bravery and was wounded at Churubusco
Battle of Churubusco
The Battle of Churubusco took place on August 20, 1847, in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Contreras during the Mexican-American War. After defeating the Mexican army at Churubusco, the U.S. Army was only 5 miles away from Mexico City, the capital of the nation...

. Between the wars he served in the U.S. Army Adjutant General
Adjutant general
An Adjutant General is a military chief administrative officer.-Imperial Russia:In Imperial Russia, the General-Adjutant was a Court officer, who was usually an army general. He served as a personal aide to the Tsar and hence was a member of the H. I. M. Retinue...

's office and as an adjutant in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

Early commands


At the start of the Civil War, Buell was an early organizer of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 and briefly commanded one of its divisions
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

. He was promoted to brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

, with seniority dating from May 17, 1861. In November 1861, he succeeded Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman in command at Louisville, Kentucky. Buell's command was designated the Department of the Ohio
Department of the Ohio
The Department of the Ohio was an administrative military district created by the United States War Department early in the American Civil War to administer the troops in the Northern states near the Ohio River.General Orders No...

 and his troops the Army of the Ohio
Army of the Ohio
The Army of the Ohio was the name of two Union armies in the American Civil War. The first army became the Army of the Cumberland and the second army was created in 1863.-History:...

 (later the Army of the Cumberland
Army of the Cumberland
The Army of the Cumberland was one of the principal Union armies in the Western Theater during the American Civil War. It was originally known as the Army of the Ohio.-History:...

). Buell's superiors wanted him to operate in eastern Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, an area with Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 sympathies and considered important to the political efforts in the war. However, Buell essentially disregarded his orders and moved against Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 instead, which he captured on February 25, 1862, against little opposition. (Confederate attentions were elsewhere at this time, as Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

 was capturing Forts Henry
Battle of Fort Henry
The Battle of Fort Henry was fought on February 6, 1862, in western Tennessee, during the American Civil War. It was the first important victory for the Union and Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the Western Theater....

 and Donelson
Battle of Fort Donelson
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862, in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S...

.) On March 21, he was promoted to major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 of volunteers, but Buell lost his independent status when his command was incorporated within the new Department of the Mississippi, under the command of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck.

Shiloh


At the Battle of Shiloh
Battle of Shiloh
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought April 6–7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. A Union army under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and...

, Buell reinforced Grant with three of the five divisions of the Army of the Ohio, about 20,000 men, helping him defeat the Confederates on April 7, 1862. Buell considered that his arrival was the primary reason that Grant avoided a major defeat. Halleck had to continually prod Buell to get his army to Pittsburg Landing in order to reinforce Grant, concentrating for a planned attack on the Confederate stronghold at Corinth. Although Buell's army was only 90 miles east at Columbia, it took one month to reach Pittsburg Landing, just in time for Grant to launch a counterattack on the Confederate Army of Mississippi. Buell made excuses that the Army of the Ohio's march overland toward Pittsburg Landing was hindered by "swollen rivers" and rain. While acknowledging these delays with criticism, many newspapers and some Federal soldiers credited Buell with "saving" Grant in the battle. Buell considered himself the victor of the battle and denigrated Grant's contribution, writing after the war that he had no "marked influence that he exerted upon the fortune of the day." Contemporary historians, such as Larry Daniels and Kenneth W. Noe, consider that Grant actually saved himself by the conclusion of the first day of battle and that the rivalry between Grant and Buell hampered the conduct of battle on the second day. The commanders operated almost completely independently of each other and Buell "proved slow and hesitant to commit himself."

After Grant's successful counterattack at Shiloh, Buell continued under Halleck's command in the Siege of Corinth
Siege of Corinth
The Siege of Corinth was an American Civil War battle fought from April 29 to May 30, 1862, in Corinth, Mississippi.-Background:...

. In June and July, Buell started a leisurely movement of four divisions towards Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

, but his supply lines were disrupted by Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He is remembered both as a self-educated, innovative cavalry leader during the war and as a leading southern advocate in the postwar years...

 and his offensive ground to a halt.

Buell got himself into more political difficulties during this period. Some Northerners suspected that Buell was a Southern sympathizer because he was one of the few Federal officers who was a slaveholder (he inherited the slaves from his wife's family). Suspicions continued as Buell enforced a strict policy of non-interference with Southern civilians during his operations in Tennessee and Alabama. A serious incident occurred on May 2, 1862 when the town of Athens, Alabama
Athens, Alabama
Athens is a city in Limestone County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 18,967. According to the 2009 U.S. Census estimates, the city had a population of 24,234...

, was pillaged by Union soldiers. Buell, noted for his iron discipline, was infuriated and brought charges against his subordinate on the scene, John B. Turchin. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 succumbed to pressure from Tennessee politicians and ordered Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas to replace Buell on September 30, 1862. However, Thomas refused the command and Lincoln relented, leaving Buell in command. Turchin was court-martialled but not cashiered from service as Buell wanted, and was in fact promoted to brigadier general.

Grant, despite his professional rivalry following Shiloh, addressed these charges against Buell in his memoirs, writing:

Kentucky


In the fall of 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.Bragg, a native of North Carolina, was...

 invaded Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

 and Buell was forced to pursue him to defend Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kentucky, and the county seat of Jefferson County. Since 2003, the city's borders have been coterminous with those of the county because of a city-county merger. The city's population at the 2010 census was 741,096...

, and the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. A single corps of Buell's army was attacked by Bragg at the Battle of Perryville
Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a...

 on October 8, 1862, while Buell, a couple of miles behind the action, was not aware that a battle was taking place until late in the day and thus did not effectively engage the full strength of his army to defeat the smaller enemy force. Although Perryville was tactically indecisive, it halted the Confederate invasion of Kentucky and forced their withdrawal back into Tennessee. When he failed to pursue Bragg's withdrawal, Buell was relieved of command on October 24, replaced by Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans. Buell spent the next year and a half in Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

, in military limbo, hoping that a military commission would exonerate him of blame; he claimed he had not pursued Bragg because he lacked supplies. Exoneration never came, and he left military service on May 23, 1864. Although he had been offered a command at the express recommendation of Grant, Buell declined it, saying that it would be degradation to serve under either Sherman or Edward Canby
Edward Canby
Edward Richard Sprigg Canby was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War, Reconstruction era, and the Indian Wars...

 because he outranked them both. In his memoirs, Grant called this "the worst excuse a soldier can make for declining service."

Postbellum life


Following the war Buell lived again in Indiana, and then in Kentucky, employed in the iron and coal industry as president of the Green River Iron Company. From 1885 to 1889 he was a government pension agent. He died at his home in Rockport, Kentucky
Rockport, Kentucky
Rockport is a city in Ohio County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 337 at the 2000 census. The city is descriptively named for the large rocks on a nearby river bank.-Geography:Rockport is located at ....

, and is buried in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, at Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Honors


Buell Armory on the University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky, also known as UK, is a public co-educational university and is one of the state's two land-grant universities, located in Lexington, Kentucky...

 campus in Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the US. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region...

, is named for General Buell.

See also


  • List of American Civil War generals

Further reading

  • Engle, Stephen Douglas. Don Carlos Buell: Most Promising of All. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8078-2512-3.

External links