This Day in History — November 19

On November 19, 1898, Don Carlos Buell, Civil War general, died in Paradise, Kentucky. A West Point graduate, the Lowell, Ohio native distinguished himself during the Mexican War, rising to the rank of major. At the beginning of the Civil War, Buell was an early organizer of the Army of the Potomac and went on to lead the Army of the Ohio (which included Kentucky’s Union troops.) He was able to capture Nashville with little opposition. His troops participated in the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth, but he is most noted for helping secure Kentucky as Union territory for the remainder of the Civil War.

On Valentine’s Day 1862 Buell entered and took control of Bowling Green as Rebel forces under the command of General Albert S. Johnson retreated toward Nashville. By the fall, Confederate General Braxton Bragg had invaded Kentucky. Buell and his army had to defend Louisville, Kentucky and important transportation route of the Ohio River. His troops surprised Bragg at Bardstown, forcing him to divide his army, before engaging at Perryville on October 8, 1862. Buell cut off Bragg’s line of communication by moving to Danville as Bragg retreated to Harrodsburg. Bragg then retreated south out of Kentucky via the Cumberland Gap, solidifying Union control over the Commonwealth. Buell was scrutinized for preventing Bragg’s escape out of Kentucky, which called into question his loyalty. He resigned his commission on June 1, 1864 and made a permanent move to Kentucky.

In 1880, Governor Luke Blackburn appointed him one of the twelve members of the first board of trustees at the Agricultural and Mechanical College, formerly part of Transylvania University, now the University of Kentucky. Buell was appointed state pension agent and held this position until 1890. He died on November 19, 1898 in Paradise, Kentucky and was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

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