A Civil War Biography

Robert Christie Buchanan

Buchanan, the nephew, by marriage, of President John Quincy Adams, was born 1 March 1811 in Baltimore, Maryland. Buchanan graduated 31st in the West Point class of 1830. He fought as a lieutenant in the Black Hawk and Seminole wars. He was promoted to captain on 1 November 1838. He was brevetted major on 9 May 1846 and commanded a battalion of Maryland volunteers from 25 November 1846 until 30 May 1847 while fighting in the war with Mexico. He was brevetted lieutenant colonel on 8 September 1847.

Buchanan was assigned to the 4th US Infantry after the war with Mexico. He was Ulysses S. Grant's commanding officer when Grant resigned from the 4th US Infantry on 11 March 1854. Buchanan was promoted to major on 3 February 1855.

When the Civil War erupted Buchanan was made lieutenant colonel of the 4th which was stationed in the defenses of Washington from November 1861 until the following March. In March the 4th became part of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, V Corps, Army of the Potomac and saw action in the siege of Yorktown and during the Seven Days. Buchanan commanded the brigade during the Seven Days. He was brevetted colonel on 27 June 1862 and remained in command of the brigade at Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

In November 1862 he was appointed brigadier general of volunteers, but the Senate would not confirm his appointment citing his association with Fitz John Porter. Buchanan was assigned to command Fort Delaware in March 1863. In February 1864 he was promoted to colonel and assigned to the 1st US Infantry. He commanded the 1st at New Orleans from December 1864 until August 1865. On 13 March 1865 he was brevetted Brigadier General US Army for his conduct at Gaines Mills and Major General US Army for services at Second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. He commanded the Department of Louisiana from January 1868 until January 1869. He was in command of Fort Porter, New York when he retired on 31 December 1870 after 30 years of service. Buchanan died 29 November 1878.

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