Catharinus Putnam Buckingham

Catharinus Putnam Buckingham was born in what is now Zanesville, Ohio, on March 14, 1808. At the age of seventeen he secured an appointment to West Point; he was graduated sixth in the class of 1829, whose number two man was Robert E. Lee, with whom Buckingham is said to have been on intimate terms. After brief service on topographical duty, Buckingham was an instructor at the Academy until his resignation in 1831. He taught at Kenyon College, Ohio, for a time, and from 1849 until 1861 was proprietor of an ironworks in Knox County. When the war came, Buckingham served successively as assistant adjutant general, commissary general, and adjutant general of Ohio; on July 16, 1862, he was appointed brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers. He was attached to the War Department on special duty and was the officer who bore the dispatch relieving General George B. McClellan from the command of the Army of the Potomac on November 7, 1862. Resigning his commission on February 11, 1863, to return to private business, Buckingham and his brothers erected a grain elevator in New York, which proved unprofitable. He then moved to Chicago, his home for the rest of his life, where he built the Illinois Central grain elevators—a project with which he was connected until 1873—and was president of the Chicago Steel Works. He also found time to write two mathematical treatises. He died in Chicago on August 30, 1888, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Zanesville.

Previous Page

Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.