Don Carlos Buell (1818-1898), American soldier, was born near Marietta, Ohio, on the 23rd of March 1818. He graduated at West Point in 1841, and as a company officer of infantry took part in the Seminole War of 1841-42 and the Mexican War, during which he was present at almost all the battles fought by Generals Taylor and Scott, winning the brevet of captain at Monterey, and that of major at Contreras-Churubusco, where he was wounded. From 1848 to 1861 he performed various staff duties, chiefly as assistant-adjutant-general. On the outbreak of the Civil War he was appointed lieutenant-colonel on the 11th of May 1861, brigadier-general of volunteers a few days later, and major-general of volunteers in March 1862. He aided efficiently in organizing the Army of the Potomac, and, at the instance of General McClellan, was sent, in November 1861, to Kentucky to succeed General William T. Sherman in command. Here he employed himself in the organization and training of the Army of the Ohio (subsequently of the Cumberland), which to the end of its career retained a standard of discipline and efficiency only surpassed by that of the Army of the Potomac. In the spring of 1862 Buell followed the retiring Confederates under Sidney Johnston, and appeared on the field of Shiloh (q.v.) at the end of the first day's fighting.
On the following day, aided by Buell's fresh and well-trained army, Grant carried all before him. Buell subsequently served under Halleck in the advance on Corinth, and in the autumn commanded in the campaign in Kentucky against Bragg. After a period of manoeuvring in which Buell scarcely held his own, this virtually ended in the indecisive battle of Perryville. The alleged tardiness of his pursuit, and his objection to a plan of campaign ordered by the Washington authorities, brought about Buell's removal from command. With all his gifts as an organizer and disciplinarian, he was haughty in his dealings with the civil authorities, and, in high command, he showed, on the whole, unnecessary tardiness of movement and an utter disregard for the requirements of the political situation. Moreover, as McClellan's friend, holding similar views, adverse politically to the administration, he suffered by McClellan's displacement. The complaints made against him were investigated in 1862-1863, but the result of the investigation was not published. Subsequently he was offered military employment, which he declined.
He resigned his volunteer commission in May, and his regular commission in June 1864. He was president of Green River ironworks (1865-1870), and subsequently engaged in various mining enterprises; he served (1885-1889) as pension agent at Louisville. He died near Rockport, Kentucky, on the 19th of November 1898.