Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner


Simon Bolivar Buckner (April 1, 1823 – January 8, 1914) was an American soldier and politician who fought in the United States Army in the Mexican-American War and in the Confederate States Army during the War Between the States. He later served as the 30th Governor of Kentucky.


After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Buckner became an instructor there. He took a hiatus from teaching to serve in the Mexican-American War, participating in many of the major battles of that conflict. He resigned from the army in 1855 to manage his father-in-law's real estate in Chicago, Illinois. He returned to his native state of Kentucky in 1857 and was appointed adjutant general by Governor Beriah Magoffin in 1861. In this position, he tried to enforce Kentucky's neutrality policy in the early days of the War Between the States. When the state's neutrality was breached, Buckner accepted a commission in the Confederate Army after declining a similar commission to the Union Army. In 1862, he accepted Ulysses S. Grant's demand for an “unconditional surrender” at the Battle of Fort Donelson. He was the first Confederate general to surrender an army in the war. He spent five months as a prisoner of war. After his release, Buckner participated in Braxton Bragg's failed invasion of Kentucky and near the end of the war became chief of staff to Edmund Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department.


In the years following the war, Buckner became active in politics. He was elected governor of Kentucky in 1887. It was his second campaign for that office. His term was plagued by violent fueds in the eastern part of the state, including the Hatfield – McCoy feud and the Rowan County War. His administration was rocked by scandal when state treasurer James “Honest Dick” Tate absconded with $250,000.00 from the state's treasury. As governor, Buckner became known for vetoing special interest legislation. In the 1888 legislative session alone, he issued more vetoes than the previous ten governors combined. In 1895, he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate. The following year, he joined the National Democratic Party, or “Gold Democrats,” who favored a gold standard policy over the Free Silver position of the mainline Democrats. He was the Gold Democrats' candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1896 election, but polled just over one percent of the vote on a ticket with John M. Palmer. He never again sought public office and died January 8, 1914. The Camp was chartered May 3, 2013, and currently meets the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Church of Christ in Dodge City.