Don Carlos Buell — Facts and APUSH Notes

March 23, 1818–November 19, 1898

APUSH Definition — Don Carlos Buell (1818–1898) was an officer in the United States Army during the Civil War. He led Union armies in two of the most important battles of the war, Shiloh and Perryville.

Don Carlos Buell was a prominent Union general during the American Civil War who directed the Department of the Ohio and commanded the Army of the Ohio in the Western Theater. [Wikimedia Commons]

Who was Civil War officer Don Carlos Buell?

At the outset of the American Civil War, Don Carlos Buell was on the West Coast serving as the adjutant general of the Department of the Pacific. The War Department recalled Buell to Washington, where he helped George B. McClellan organize the Army of the Potomac, briefly commanding one of its divisions. Army officials promoted Buell to lieutenant colonel on May 11, 1861, and to brigadier general of volunteers on May 17, 1861. On November 9, 1861, the War Department selected Buell to command the Department of the Ohio. In March 1862, Buell was promoted to major general.

On the night of April 6-7, Buell’s Army of the Ohio arrived at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, and helped turn the tide at the Battle of Shiloh. Afterward, Buell’s forces took part in the Siege of Corinth. Because of Buell’s poor performance during the Confederate Heartland Campaign, President Abraham Lincoln temporarily removed Buell from his command. Later, Buell’s army defeated Confederate forces at the Battle of Perryville and eventually forced them out of Kentucky. When Buell’s pursuit of the retreating Rebels was not fast enough to suit President Lincoln, Lincoln relieved Buell of his command on October 24, 1862. Army officials offered Buell new battlefield commands, but he refused to serve under officers he once outranked. With his military reputation irreparably damaged, Buell mustered out of volunteer service on May 23, 1864, and resigned from the military on June 1.

In 1864, Buell supported George McClellan’s Democratic Party bid for the U.S. presidency and openly attacked the Union leadership for how it was waging the war. After the war, Buell served as president of Green River, Kentucky, Iron Works from 1865 to 1870, and he later engaged in other mining activities. From 1885 to 1889, Buell served as a U. S. Pension Agent at Louisville. He was also a member of the first board of trustees of the Kentucky Agricultural and Mechanical College (now the University of Kentucky). Buell died on November 19, 1898, at his home in Rockport, Kentucky. He is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

Battle of Shiloh, Illustration, Thulstrup
Battle of Shiloh. Image Source: Library of Congress.

Don Carlos Buell Facts for APUSH

Birth and Early Life

  • Full Name: His full name was Don Carlos Buell.
  • Parents: His parents were Salmon D. and Eliza Buell.
  • Date of Birth: He was born on March 23, 1818.
  • Birthplace: He was born near Lowell, Ohio.

Family Tree

  • Spouse: His spouse was Elizabeth Margaret Hunter. They were married in 1851.

Death

  • Death: He died on November 19, 1898.
  • Place of Death: He died in Rockport, Kentucky.
  • Burial: He is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri.

Education

He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in 1841.

Career

He worked as a military officer.

Career Summary

He was a Colonel (USA), Major General (USVA), and Army of the Ohio commander.

Don Carlos Buell — Summary of His Life and Accomplishments APUSH

  • Don Carlos Buell was born on the farm of his grandfather, Judge Salmon Buell, in Lowell, Ohio, on March 23, 1818.
  • Don Carlos Buell was the son of Salmon D. Buell and Eliza Buell.
  • Don Carlos Buell was named after his uncle, Don Carlos Buell, who was a lawyer in Ithaca, New York.
  • Don Carlos Buell’s father died during a cholera epidemic in 1823, when Buell was five years of age.
  • In 1826 Don Carlos Buell was sent to live with an uncle, a prominent farmer and merchant, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
  • Don Carlos Buell was educated at a local private school in Indiana where he excelled in mathematics and horsemanship.
  • Don Carlos Buell attended the United States Military Academy from 1837 to 1841.
  • Don Carlos Buell graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1841, ranked thirty-second in his class of fifty-two.
  • Don Carlos Buell was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army on July 1, 1841.
  • Don Carlos Buell fought in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War, where he was wounded at the Battle of Churubusco (August 20, 1847).
  • After the Mexican-American War, Don Carlos Buell served in the American West.
  • Don Carlos Buell married Elizabeth Margaret Hunter (widow of General Richard Barnes Mason) on November 19, 1851, in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Don Carlos Buell was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers on May 17, 1861.
  • Don Carlos Buell was promoted to major general of volunteers on March 21, 1862.
  • Don Carlos Buell directed the Department of the Ohio from November 15, 1861 through March 11, 1862.
  • Don Carlos Buell commanded the Army of the Ohio from November 15, 1861 through October 24, 1862.
  • Don Carlos Buell served at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862).
  • Don Carlos Buell was relieved of his command of the Army of the Ohio on October 24, 1862, as a result of his inaction following the Battle of Perryville (October 8, 1862).
  • Don Carlos Buell was mustered out of volunteer service on May 23, 1864.
  • Don Carlos Buell resigned from the United States Army on June 1, 1864.
  • Don Carlos Buell was president of Green River, Ky., Iron Works, 1865-70.
  • Kentucky Governor Luke P. Blackburn appointed Don Carlos Buell one of twelve members of the first board of trustees of the Kentucky Agricultural and Mechanical College (now the University of Kentucky).
  • Don Carlos Buell served as a U. S. Pension Agent from 1885 to 1889.
  • Don Carlos Buell owned eight slaves during his lifetime.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Don Carlos Buell — Facts and APUSH Notes
  • Date March 23, 1818–November 19, 1898
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date October 2, 2023
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 11, 2023

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