Born in 1818, Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell (right) graduated from West Point in 1841. Taking part in the Seminole Wars, he later saw extensive duty during the Mexican-American War. A skilled administrator, Buell spent much of the 1850s working in staff assignments. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he received a promotion to brigadier general and leadership of a division in the Army of the Potomac. Sent to Kentucky in the fall of 1861, Buell assumed command of the Department of the Ohio. Moving south in early 1862, he captured Nashville before coming to Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's aid at the Battle of Shiloh in April. After taking part in Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck's campaign against Corinth, MS, Buell began operations to capture Chattanooga. These efforts were abandoned in September when he was forced to race north to deal with Gen. Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky. Defending Louisville, he halted the enemy at Perryville in October, but played little role in the fighting. Slow to pursue Bragg, Buell was relieved later in the month and replaced with Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans. Though offered a command later in the war by Grant, Buell refused to serve under officers who had been his subordinates earlier in the war. Instead, he left the service in May 1864.
Union Leaders in the West:
- Major General William T. Sherman
- Major General George H. Thomas
- Major General James B. McPherson
- Major General John McClernand
Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress