Serving patients in the Henderson, Nevada, area, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter runs a private family practice. Dr. Kevin Buckwalter enjoys traveling in his free time and has a passion for Civil War history.
As reported in a recent issue of The Smithsonian, the outbreak of the Civil War was quite different from the way in which conflicts unfold in our real-time, media-connected era. South Carolina’s secession from the United States on April 10, 1861, kicked off a quick escalation of events, with Fort Sumter, a U.S. garrison in Charleston Harbor, coming under siege from the provisional Confederate army. Numbering 10,000, the rebel forces under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard demanded surrender of the fort from a garrison manned by only 68 U.S. soldiers.
U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson rebuffed this demand, and on April 12, the first shots were fired on the fort by 10-inch siege mortars. The garrison responded with shots of its own, but they were not capable of reaching the Confederate forces. Hauling up the white flag the following day amid heavy bombardment, Major Anderson evacuated the fort and fled north. It was only on April 18th, safely aboard the steamship Baltic, that the major was able to send a telegram to the U.S. Secretary of War describing what had occurred. Within hours, President Abraham Lincoln took action, calling Congress into session and ordering the mobilization of 75,000 volunteer troops.
A graduate of the University of Nevada at Reno, Kevin Buckwalter treats patients of all ages in Las Vegas. One of Kevin Buckwalter’s favorite pastimes is studying the Civil War and seeing how its impact can still be felt today.
On February 14, 2015, the City of Burke, Virginia, unveiled a memorial honoring African-American soldiers of the Civil War. This marker is located at Burke Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, a place of historical significance. The Department, originally known as Burke’s Station, was located on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad when originally constructed in 1851.
During the War, it became an important transportation center that provided the Union army with timber for stockades, firewood, and railroad ties, along with numerous other products. At the height of the conflict, more than 1,000 cords of lumber moved from this station every month. Many of the teamsters responsible for transporting the wood to the station were escaped slaves, known as contrabands. Because Burke’s Station was outside of Union territory, these men were at regular risk of capture, enslavement, and even death for contributing to the federal cause.
One notable event occurred on October 28, 1863. Confederate troops seized contrabands, as well as their mules, and ordered that they bring them to Burke’s Station. One contraband escaped and warned the depot. At their approach, Union troops fired a warning shot, which scared the Confederates away. Moreover, they left the contrabands and the mules untouched.
A primary care physician with multiple certifications, Dr. Kevin R. Buckwalter practices medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada. In his spare time, Kevin R. Buckwalter enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing, camping and hiking. He also travels and studies the Civil War.
Students of Civil War battles will come into contact with a few particularly well-known engagements such as Bull Run, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg. The last battle in particular has gained fame as a major turning point in the war.
The Battle of Gettysburg took part in the aftermath of the Confederate victory at Chancellorsville in Virginia. General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania sought to seize the strategic initiative and force the Union onto a defensive footing, with the ultimate goal of strengthening the position of Northerners who wanted the Lincoln administration to pursue a negotiated peace.
In the initial skirmishes of the battle, the Confederates pushed Union cavalry and infantry out of Gettysburg and into the hills to its south. Union forces under General George Meade dug in and withstood courageous but ultimately futile assaults by the rebel forces culminating in Pickett’s Charge, a failed frontal assault by the Confederate infantry. By inflicting more casualties than they received and forcing Lee’s forces to retreat to Virginia for the second time, Meade and his army won a strategic and tactical victory for the Union.
Four months after the battle, President Lincoln delivered the famous (and famously short) Gettysburg Address commemorating the thousands of federal troops who died in the battle.
A physician by profession, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter enjoys spending his free time learning about the Civil War. An avid traveler when pursuing his interests, Dr. Kevin Buckwalter enjoys studying the War onsite at its great battlefields.
One not-to-be-missed location for Civil War buffs is Antietam in Maryland. The site of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history, it is now a tranquil park with rolling cornfields and quaint country fences. However, in September of 1862, more than 23,000 troops met their violent ends on these fields. The site honors the fallen with a daily half-hour documentary shown at the battlefield’s visitor center. Ranger-guided or self-guided auto tours are on offer. Visitors can also take battlefield walks with the park rangers or self-guided hikes through a variety of the field’s key spots.
Off of the battlefield itself, visitors can learn about Civil War medicine at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, located in the home where Union Commander General George B. McClellan headquartered himself during the battle. Now, visitors can see a re-created operating room as well as the implements that surgeons used when treating the battle’s wounded.
Born on April 27, 1822, Ulysses S. Grant grew up in Georgetown, Ohio, where he helped out on the family farm. Despite having little interest in the military, Grant attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated and became a Second Lieutenant for the 4th U.S. Infantry in St. Louis, Missouri. There he met and married Julia Boggs Dent. He stayed in the military until 1854 and then left to begin his own farm.
Once the Civil War began, however, Ulysses S. Grant once again joined the military and became a Brigadier General almost immediately. He became Lieutenant General in March 1864 and eventually led the Union forces to victory. After the war ended, Grant became the Secretary of War before being nominated as the presidential candidate by the Republican Party. He became President of the United States but is considered one of the worst presidents in U.S. history as a result of several scandals that prevented him from making any major accomplishments.
After leaving office, Grant traveled throughout Europe. He lent his son money to begin a brokerage firm, but the firm went bankrupt and Grant lost all his money. He ultimately began writing his memoirs to earn money for his wife before he died on July 23, 1885.
About the author: Dr. Kevin Buckwalter greatly enjoys learning about the Civil War. Additionally, he serves as a physician in Las Vegas.
Dr. Kevin Buckwalter is a physician in Las Vegas. When Dr. Buckwalter is not engaged in his medical practice, he enjoys studying the Civil War. In the following, he discusses the battle of Fort Sumter.
April 12, 1861 represents a crucial day in the history of the United States. It marked the beginning of the American Civil War. Although the issues that led to the conflict had plagued the nation for years, the first shot of the war occurred at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
A Union stronghold, Fort Sumter had become the center of controversy two days earlier, when Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard demanded that the Union garrison surrender. The North refused, and the Confederacy fired upon the Fort. The battle lasted for about 34 hours before the engagement ended. Although soldiers fired thousands of bullets, the only creature to die from direct bombardment was a mule. A single Union artilleryman was killed when a cannon misfired. Nevertheless, the Northern troops gave control of Fort Sumter to the South, and the Civil War had officially begun.