b.12 Nov 1783
d.20 November 1868 Lincoln County, Tennessee
m. ABT 1782
Facts and Events
Letter To Andrew Buchanan
Born 1783, Died 1868 Warren County, Tennessee
From His Brother Samuel Buchanan Born 1800-1810, Died 1836 Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia - December 15, 1828
Enclosed you will find the deed of conveyance which you sent in the first of November which I have had executed according to your directions. I understand from you that Uncle Thomas Edmondson’s heirs claim a Locators’ part. Father [Matthew Buchanan, Born c. 1760, Died Before 1830] says that as he is a witness, that there will be but little difficulty in gaining it for that he was paid for it before it was made. I should have went immediately to see to the dividing of the land; but could not get off on account of the ill state of Mother [Elizabeth Edmondson, Born c. 1755, Died c. 1831] which took unwell about that time, but is recovering a little at this time. I understand from your letter that you would like to settle on it if I would go out and settle on it too. But it is now out of my power to do it on account of my engagement with Father and Mother. If I should go I would get only it and there is There has been considerable sickness amongst us this Fall. John Keys [Born c. 1794, Died 10-31-1828] departed this life on the last of October and left four small children, one of which has been born since his death. Martha [Buchanan Keys, Born c.1797, Died After 1860] is here on the place yet and she still thinks of living on it, but how she will make out I do not know for three children is small. Father has taken orphaned child. Perhaps some of them has written to you of his death before.
I don’t feel any inclination of settling on the Elk land [Tennessee] on account of being among so many of my connections as live there if I leave them here. I never will settle among them on Elk; nor I would hardly think you would settle on it to be found as well as you are at present.
Letter To Captain William Buchanan
From His Brother Andrew Buchanan
It becomes my duty to inform you of the death of our Brother Samuel [Buchanan]. He departed this life yesterday about eleven o’clock. We have buried him about twelve o’clock this day. His wife is much wearied and distressed and seems rather unwell. But I presume a little rest and a little refreshment will restore her health for it has been generally good - but she has had much to do. She has waited well on Samuel, discharged her duty to him in a manner that was highly pleasing to him and to all the rest of us; and his death to her is almost an insurmountable difficulty. What she will do or where she will live is a matter about which I have not spoken to her. He did not make a will though I spoke to him upon that subject
the day before he died and ascertained his will - but did not think he would die so soon, and perhaps it is best so at least we cannot alter it now. His sufferings never seemed intolerable and he bore it with patience and calmness and died without reprising, said he was willing to die or live, and we have good reason to hope that where he is there is peace. He was nearly ready to start to your country about the 10th September, was attacked with a profuse spitting of blood which continued by spells for about a week and left. Had also an attack of fever. His health so far recovered that he was able to ride a mile or two, came to my house often but never gained strength, gradually wore away coughing and spitting. I have seen him every day he was able to get up and walk across the floor till a day or two before he died.
But why should I attempt to give a detail of his sufferings. I cannot do it, and if I could it would do you no good. He is no more, and you and I and all of us must follow him. There is no chance to avoid it. Oh may I be as well prepared to meet the King of terrors as he was.
Robert Buchanan’s Son - John or Jack or Jackson or whatever his name - is declining as I am informed though I have not seen him since before Samuel was taken sick. Some of his friends despair of his recovery.
Among other things I have understood that Uncle John Buchanan’s Son, Willie, is to be married next Thursday to one of the Crawfords on Cane Creek [Tennessee], whether true or not, I cannot tell.
29th November - Jane seems pretty well. I have not yet spoken to her upon the subject of her place of residence. She can do well where she is if she can get a suitable family to live with her. She has plenty of everything to live on. Samuel had seven head of horses, about as many cattle, between 35 and 40 pork hogs and perhaps more sow hogs. The price of pork from $5 to $6, 10 or 12 sheep, plenty of corn, wheat, oats, hay; and was in a fair way to do well in this world. His land is of the very first quality and will rent well; and on it in my opinion is the best place for her, and so thinks her aunts and uncles here - at least all of them that I have talked with. I wish it was so that some of her relations could live with her or some of her old acquaintances from Virginia. It would reconcile her to her situation in life. I think she is better pleased with the country than she was at first, though I have not heard her say so that I remember it. I was anxious for her to go to Virginia this Fall and stay there a month or six weeks. For from my own experience that is the best way to wean one from that country. There are many people there and here too that would suit her and could do better to live on her land and pay a reasonable rent than to live on their own land such as it is or on any poor land for nothing. That is provided they could stay eight or ten years and the prospect seems good for such an establishment.
N.B. The Virginia Statesman is regularly sent to Samuel Buchanan.
Letter To Andrew Buchanan
Born 1783, Died 1868
From His Son Felix Grundy Buchanan Born 1838, Died 1907 Camp Jones - September 8, 1861
Your kind favor of the 22nd reached me this morning, rather long on the way. I was very glad to hear that you were all well, and that prospects for plenty in the future were so flattering. With our ports blockades as they are at present, no one can calculate the bearings of a good crop, for we are compelled to live on our own resources. All things prove that the God of War is on our side, so far at least. During the last two weeks, I have received several letters from home which were very welcome. I would answer each one if I thought it necessary, but all can see this and learn all the news I have to convey.
The health of the Army is improving slowly but there is much sickness yet; though none of a serious nature in our Regiment. Three of our boys – [Pleasant] Halbert, Millard, and Alexander - all good boys, have obtained furloughs and will leave for home in the morning with Kimes and Alexander. The sick in our company, with the exception of these three and a young man by the name of Payton of Cane Creek [Tennessee], all improving rapidly, nearly all are in camps, all will be in in a few days if they do not relapse. During the last three weeks I have seen from one to three buried daily, mostly Alabamians - a few from our Regiment, but none from our Company, two from Lincoln Co., one from the Lynchburg Co., and one from the Shelton Creek. Last week I had a slight touch of the bilious fever* which kept me in tent for two or three days, but I am now well. I have no reason or disposition to complain of my health since I left home, for in everything I have fared much better that I expected.
I think we will move our camp in a few days for some place on the Potomac in the vicinity of Alexandria. This is the general opinion of the knowing ones, yet we may not move for some time, and may go in a different direction. I would not be surprised in the least if we were to have a big fight at or near Alexandria [Virginia] in a few days, for at this time several regiments of [Confederate General Joseph E.] Johnston’s Command are in sight of Alexandria and the pickets have met several times.
I received the rubber blanket per A. R. Edmondson, which Mother [Bethia Lyne White Buchanan] is so kind to send. I feel very thankful for it is of great service to me, especially on guard on a rainy day and night. The box of provisions which was sent has never reached me yet - and I think it extremely doubtful whether it will, for of the number of boxes sent to this Regiment, none but one has been received, that one was for [Confederate] Colonel [Pete] Turney.
Just here I will say that when the clothes of our Company are ready, send someone with them or let us know and we will have a man detailed to go after them for it is very important that we should receive them. We must have warm clothing here in the winter. Mother had better send Alf [S. Fulton, Confederate Soldier From 8th Tennessee Infantry, Company B., Colored] a suit of my old clothes, as I have some very good winter clothes there that will suit him very well. Send me two large cotton colored handkerchiefs which I can pack in my pocket and use for a towel on a march, for I can never get to my trunk on such occasions.
I have no news of interest to write so I will close. Tell Mag and Mary [B. Wright] that I have seen letters from each of them in the last week and will write to them soon. My love to both of their families. Remember me to all the neighbors, especially R. E. Buchanan and lady. I think Bob might write a few lines to a fellow just for fun. My love to you all, will write again soon. Let me hear from you when convenient.
* Bilious Fever – Liver Disease.
Letter To Andrew Buchanan, Esq.
Born 1783, Died 1868
From Confederate Colonel Robert Farquharson 41st Tennessee Infantry Fort Warren, Tennessee - July 18, 1862
My Dear Sir,
Your kind letter of the 9th instant* came to hand in due time and gave me great pleasure. For next to the approval of a good conscience, I reckon the approbation of men of your age - who at the age of four score  - surrounded by children and childrens’ children - let them be ever so selfish. The interest of their children must necessarily involve the greatest good of the Country.
I had supposed that [Confederate] Colonel [Coleman Adams] McDaniel had quitted the Army and returned home on account of his health. When I last saw him near Bowling Green, Kentucky, his health was very poor. In fact, I thought he could not recover. He had a great many sick in his Regiment. Out of more than eight hundred, I don’t think there could be mustered exceeding three hundred fit for duty. When I saw Felix [Grundy Buchanan] in Virginia a year ago today, he was as hardy as a Pine knob and a general favorite. I predicted his promotion then, and I am glad that he has since been promoted.
The people of Tennessee have never yet had a full statement of all the facts of the criminal blunder at Fort Donelson: [Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner was in command at the Battle of Fort Donelson on February 15, 1862.] Buckner and the army there were madevictims of the incompentency or crime of [Brigadier General John Buchanan] Floyd and [Brigadier General Gideon Johnson] Pillow, or both. After Fort Henry [Tennessee] fell – it being our extreme left – Donelson being our extreme right – was no longer tenable and should have been abandoned before the land force of the enemy – four times our strength, had time to surround us.
Fort Henry fell on the 6th of February. After it fell, instead of evacuating Donelson and falling back to a new line (say Nashville [Tennessee]), Buckner’s Division was ordered there and Floyd’s also. These, and the troops already there, constituted an army of about fifteen thousand which fought the enemy four days and nights - in snow and sleet without tents (and my Regiment without blankets or cooking utensils). The last dispatch sent by Pillow to [Confederate] General [Joseph Eggleston] Johnston (as I have understood) was that werepulsed the enemy, taken a number of guns, three hundred prisoners and did not need reinforcements. This was Saturday evening, the 10th. That night we were surrendered at discretion; Generals Pillow and Floyd, most ingloriously as I think, abandoning their commands. Now I am not one of those who join in the cry that our Army was given up when it could have fought its way out. I do not believe it. The men were completely worn out by exposure and could not muster one third the strength of any Regiment for any duty. One of my feet frostbitten and ankle sprained. Have not slept five minutes in four consecutive nights. Went to sleep standing up at twelve o’clock Saturday night standing up in the trenches. At the head of my Regiment which did not muster more than a hundred – and all those that were able to stand up - out of 575. I had a good Regiment. Not a man flinched until nearly the close of the third day - when from sheer exhaustion, they tumbled over where they stood. Some of my officers went to see our superiors to get permission to rest a few hours - but there being no troops in any better situation - they were refused. Being utterly unable to stand up I borrowed a blanket from my servant (free Nat Robertson) and laid down and slept - oh how soundly - and awoke to find myself a prisoner.
The troops fought well admirably - for troops only a month or so from the plow. But what could be expected from 15,000 such - completely surrounded by 60,000 on three sides, and by a river with six gunboats and any number of men and transports on the other. Every time they fought us, they met us with fresh troops. And when on Saturday, the 15th, we started to cut our way out, if we could have succeeded then (which I think doubtful) when ordered back by Pillow; the last hope for the army to avoid being literally cut up was nothing but surrender. The truth is posterity will so put it up – that Donelson should not have been defended after Henry fell.
Every man Northwest of Nashville should have been retired to that line. Johnston could have kept [Union Major General Don Carlos] Buell in check until the Donelson troops could have joined him; and these with the other troops then being raised, would have been sufficient to have kept him back until [Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant] Beauregard could have made a Division. In this way Middle Tennessee might have been saved – although the Mississippi [River] and New Orleans [Louisiana] was lost. I am not allowed to write on military or political subjects but this relates to matters so far back that I suppose it will make no difference now. My health is now pretty good, and I am in strong hope of a speedy exchange. If so, I shall try to see you all as soon as possible but time alone can tell.
Remember me kindly to your entire family and all inquiring friends.
Letter To Andrew Buchanan
Born 1783, Died 1868
From His Son Felix Grundy Buchanan Born 1838, Died 1907 Camp Lee, Near Winchester, Virginia - November 19, 1862
I have but few minutes to write, as George J. Stonebreaker is nearly ready to leave, having been furloughed home on account of a wound secured in Maryland. I have no news of importance. The Army is quiet, no marching, fighting, or anything of the kind having been done for some time. I do not think a fight or anything of importance is imminent. The health of the Army is good and in fine spirits. I do not believe there was ever a better army in the field than the Army of Northern Virginia. Though it is much in need of winter clothing, there seems to be a great demand for shoes. I fear some commands will fare badly this Winter. My health is good. I did not know that Stonebreaker was going to start so soon or I would have written you a longer letter, but you shall hear from me again soon. My love to all the Family and respects to all friends.
Letter To Andrew Buchanan
Born 1783, Died 1868
From His Son Matthew Buchanan Born 1829, Died 1862 Camp Truesdale, Tennessee - September 22, 1861
We are making preparations to start to Bowling Green [Kentucky] tomorrow. The order was given today. I suppose to Bowling Green, at least everybody I see has it that way. [Confederate Colonel Robert] Farquharson’s Regiment has to go too. There is another Regiment here, Colonel Miller’s, which will stay. They had several hundred stand of army, but I suppose they made excuses to keep from going.
I feel quite willing myself, although we are not very well drilled. I think we will fight the better not knowing how to make a good retreat. But, we may not be going to fight, but to fortify or something else.
I feel tolerably well, have not got altogether over the cold I contracted on the trip to this post – but hope I can stand it. I believe I am getting sort of acclimated to this post and could stand quarters here very well. I expect we will be exposed after we leave here. The weather today is very unfavorable for moving. It has been raining most of the day – slowly, commencing in the latter part of the night. Our tents seem to answer a good purpose, not leaking any. We will take down about 12 at night and pack up and march to the station where we will take the train at 8 in the morning. Some report that we will march from Bowling Green to __________ 18 miles before encamping. I want you to let [Confederate Colonel] Coleman [Adams McDaniel] know of this movement, if he has not already heard of it. The boys are all mighty anxious to have him along. They have more reliance in him than our Lieutenant Colonel Shedd. I believe Shedd is a brave man but not skilled in tactics. I know nothing more of interest to tell so will close.
Letter To Andrew Buchanan
Born 1783, Died 1868
From His Son Matthew Buchanan Born 1829, Died 1862 Bowling Green, Kentucky – December 25, 1861
I am now safe and sound near Bowling Green [Kentucky]. We reached here Thursday night___________ to the terminus of the railroad and came to our present encampment Tuesday morning. We had somewhat a disastrous night of it, but I feel none the worse by it. We made fires and stood by them all night. I fixed a place and slept a little but feared taking more cold and consequently stayed up most of the night.
We have a __________ ______________ we are located this time in the grass, and here we have the delightful prospect of beholding trees that I have been used to looking upon. We have Limestone water here, and I would suppose from appearance that in the Summer it would be inferior to none I ever saw. It runs off underground. At Limestone [Alabama] we had freestone water and a finer spring cannot be found. It is about such a spring as the Castleman’s Spring, though perhaps bigger. At Truesdale [Tennessee] we had to carry our water a great way upon our shoulders, though great quantities of beer were consumed - which I think ought not to have.
The Union Army has a great force here I guess, though I have my doubts of the strength of it. I can see the fortifications on all the hills around Bowling Green. Several Regiments are at work at the business all the time. No one is allowed near them except those engaged at the work. I would like to see them.
I will see them probably before _________ like the militia see them, but I don’t care how ___________ fight is expected somewhere in this vicinity before long from the fact that no one is allowed a furlough unless he be sick. But I am satisfied that unless it is a very squeaky case, we will not be brought in the action. I took a tramp to Bowling Green and a mile or so beyond to Colonel Cook’s Regiment.
Bowling Green is considerable town perhaps ___________ and as large as Fayetteville [Tennessee]. There is not much taste displayed in beautifying the place, nor at this time is there much inducement for beginning. I am a stranger myself but I think as a whole they have less regard for individual rights than I could have expected of the wildest ruffians.
We will be in Hardee’s Brigade, who I expect will be as rigid as can be got up. Farquharson sat his Regiment down here but was removed the next day over on [Brigadier General Simon Bolivar] Buckner’s side. I saw Hardee pass through Bowling Green with a very intelligent look and had _________ _______ about him. I have heard but do not vouch for that the Yankees are coming down the _________ __________ for a great engagement, some 12 or 15,000 having already crossed the Green River and taken a Battery. If this be my guess, we are only baiting them to get them down to the works. I hear that we will get Army ________ so I guess will be armed with a musket. I was told that the inspector general came around today and says he will take off all the arms on hand, so you can tell Bob [Robert Anderson McClellan] that he soon will have to go. I learned from ___________ that Coleman [Adams McDaniel] would be here in a few days which is very________ intelligence. Thomas Bell, 1st lieutenant at the first election was elected captain since Coleman’s promotion, and is now at home I reckon on furlough. He thought he was taking the measles. We have the rise of thirty on furlough, some are coming in and others are due. I believe I will come to a place I would like to get more letters. They are very interesting and _________ from home. Ant has good health. I don’t think he has taken any cold in all the trip.
Letter To Andrew Buchanan
Born 1783, Died 1868
From His Son Matthew Buchanan Born 1829, Died 1862 Camp Truesdale, Robertson County, Tennessee November 4, 1861
I promised to let you hear from me on my arrival at camp. We arrived here yesterday morning. I wished to look around and make some observations and hence make a letter more interesting. I have seen _________________________________________________________ complain. We have had a disagreeable time up to the present. I have slept very little since I left home. The first night we kept the cars till about 2 o’clock - suffered much with cold. My feet seemed as if they would freeze and my body shivered with cold. After getting off the train, we built large fires all about and thawed ourselves as best we could. But, the ground was frozen and a thin coat of snow rendered it somewhat difficult to do a good part by the feet warm. And, sleep had not been bargained for by me, though some in the midst of all the bustle threw themselves almost on the frozen earth and seemed unconscious of hard times or the casualties of exposure.
The next morning we marched into camp. Five companies and a number of recruits took quarters in some buildings built expressly for the business - but in their present condition afford little comfort as neither chimneys nor stoves form any part of the shanties. And as a matter of course, fires built in them occasionally make it almost insufferable and without fire and the low stock of bedclothes, we get very cold, which was the case last night. We extinguished the fires to get rid of the smoke, and then the cold came as uncompanionably as the smoke we had expelled. And besides, some frolicsome boys kept up such an annoying prattle that has much to do with sleeping matters. I think by tonight I will begin to climb on it and very few nights will ensue before I catch up.
I guess we will form a regiment this week; and then we will be under some discipline and I think be better off. It is thought that we will then get tents which are ready to have the first company occupy them, and are preferred even in bad weather.
I reckon we will be sworn into the service today or by tomorrow. I think the intention was to have it done today but [Confederate Colonel] Coleman [Adams McDaniel] has gone to Nashville [Tennessee] and will not be back till late in the evening - and I presume it will not be done until he gets back and maybe not for several days.
Perhaps some of the fattest hogs on Cane Creek [Tennessee] had better be killed. I mean slaughter all hogs as the weather is favorable and when the supplies give out the weather may not be as well as at present. I want all of those 12 shoats* kept as late as would be safe before killing (not much before February).
I told Joe Beatie to take all that would do. There is two open sows that will weigh 350 at least which I would be glad he would take. I do not think they are with pigs from their looks. I want to hear how much the hogs he takes weigh and how much yours weigh. I will write along at spells to suit. I want you to write and give the news that you get hold of.
* Shoats – Young hogs, usually less than one year old.
BUCHANAN AND McCLELLAN FAMILY PAPERS File Number 1850,
Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Letter to Judge Buchanan
The following family history was written by Felix Grundy Buchanan (1844-?), of "Rich Valley" Virginia. Buchanan's text is based on the family Bible of his great great grandfather, Alexander. The narrative was sent to William Buchanan of Glade Springs, Virginia and is commonly found in family histories on the internet. The specific version given here was probably taken from Blakeman, 1978. (Obvious typos corrected. See also Notebook:James Buchanan.)
Alexander Buchanan, native of Ireland, had two sons who came to America about the beginning of the 18th century, settled in Chester County, Nottingham Township, Pennsylvania. Their names were James and Archibald.
"James Buchanan came to Augusta County, Virginia, and married Martha Allison of the same county. Their children were:
George and David were the children of James Buchanan’s second wife, Mary Resido,  and I have heard they went to Tennessee.
My great-grandfather Robert Buchanan came to Wythe County as an early settler of this part of the state. My grandfather was a son of Robert and Magaret McCutchan Buchanan; his name was Alexander. His wife was Margaret Walker, both of Wythe, but died in Smyth.
My father was James Augustus Buchanan and my mother Mary Glenn Thomas. Father thought your family and his were the same but could not race the relationship. I send you this paper. You may find something in your old Bible that will throw some light on it.