Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/303
Buckner and M'Clellan
[From the New York Sun. September 18, 1896]
BUCKNER AND M'CLELLAN.
How the Former Clearly Outwitted the Latter.
Negotiations About Kentucky General Buckner's Southern Sympathies, Which Carried Him into the Confederate Army.
General Buckner from his youth has been a potent personality. He was a notable figure throughout the civil war, and was numbered among the higher circle of Confederate leaders, although his State did not secede, and he was early driven from her borders by the advance of the Union armies. At seasons he bore a conspicuous part for his cause in shaping military events.
At the outbreak of the war, Buckner, then about thirty-eight years old, at the very zenith of his powers, was undoubtedly the most influential Southern rights man in his native State of Kentucky, by reason of his military education and experience, his wealth and high social connections. He had graduated from West Point in 1844, number eleven in a class of twenty-five cadets. Besides Generals Hancock, Pleasanton and Frost, his classmates, Buckner had, as associates in the academy, in the classes above and below him, many lads who afterwards distinguished themselves on both sides U. S. Grant, McClellan, Kirby Smith, Jackson, Pickett, Wilcox, Franklin, Porter, Baldy Smith, Steele, Rufus Ingalls, and others of lesser note. Grant and Buckner were together three years at West Point, Grant having graduated in the class of 1843.Buckner took part in the Mexican war as Second Lieutenant in the 6th regular infantry, and by his bravery and soldierly qualities made an ineffaceable impression upon his brother officers. He was wounded at the battle of Cherubusco. In 1852 he was made a captain and commissary of subsistence, a position much sought after by line officers. But army life in time of peace did not suit the ardent temperament of Buckner, and he resigned from the service on the 26th of March, 1855. For two or three years thereafter he was engaged in important business enterprises at Chicago. During this period, not having lost his interest in the military profession, he connected himself with the Illinois State Militia service, and by appointment be-