Simon Bolivar Buckner (1823- ), American soldier and political leader, was born in Hart county, Kentucky, on the 1st of April 1823. He graduated at West Point in 1844, and was assistant professor of geography, history and ethics there in 1845-1846. He fought in several battles of the Mexican War, received the brevet of first lieutenant for gallantry at Churubusco, where he was wounded, and later, after the storming of Chapultepec, received the brevet of captain. In 1848-1850 he was assistant instructor of infantry tactics at West Point. During the succeeding five years he was in the recruiting service, on frontier duty, and finally in the subsistence department. He resigned from the army in March 1855. During the futile attempt of Governor Beriah Magoffin to maintain Kentucky in a position of neutrality, he was commander of the state guard; but in September 1861, after the entry of Union forces into the state, he openly espoused the Confederate cause and was commissioned brigadier-general, later becoming lieutenant-general. He was third in command of Fort Donelson at the time of General Grant's attack (February 1862), and it fell to him, after the escape of Generals Floyd and Pillow, to surrender the post with its large garrison and valuable supplies.
General Buckner was exchanged in August of the same year, and subsequently served under General Bragg in the invasion of Kentucky and the campaign of Chickamauga. He was governor of Kentucky in 1887-1891, was a member of the Kentucky constitutional convention of 1890, and in 1896 was the candidate of the National or "Gold" Democrats for vice-president of the United States.