July 9, 2013

August Carl Buchel

Carl Buchel, soldier, was born at Guntersblum, Hesse, on October 8, 1813. He dropped the umlaut from his original surname, Büchel, when he moved to Texas. He entered the military academy at Darmstadt at the age of fourteen and at eighteen was commissioned a second lieutenant of volunteers in the First Infantry Regiment of Hesse-Darmstadt. His next military training was at L'École Militaire in Paris, following which he served as a lieutenant in the Foreign Legion of France and participated in the Carlist War in Spain. He was decorated and knighted by Queen Maria Christina in 1838 for his bravery at the battle of Huesca the year before. Subsequently, he was for several years an instructor in the Turkish army and attained the rank of colonel, the highest allowed a Christian. He was offered the rank of general on the condition that he become a Moslem, but he refused and subsequently resigned. There is some indication that he was designated a pasha, a title of respect given officers of high rank.

Buchel had a reputation for dueling and, according to family tradition, is said to have gone to Texas because he killed a man in a duel after his return to Germany. He sailed with the Adelsverein in 1845 and arrived late that year at Carlshafen, later known as Indianola, where he established residence. In 1846, during the Mexican War, he raised a company in the First Regiment of Texas Foot Rifles and served as its captain. He was present at the battle of Buena Vista, where he served as aide-de-camp on the staff of Gen. Zachary Taylor. After the war President Franklin Pierce appointed him collector of customs at Port Lavaca, a position he held for many years. He also sold lumber and building materials in Corpus Christi in partnership with M. T. Huck. In 1859, during the Cortina Wars, he organized the Indianola Volunteers to combat the depredations of Mexican bandits under Juan N. Cortina. Buchel served until 1860, but the volunteers never actually fought Cortina.

At the outbreak of the Civil War Buchel joined the Texas militia; late in 1861 he was made lieutenant colonel of the Third Texas Infantry and served in South Texas. He became colonel of the First Texas Cavalry in 1863 and saw extensive service on the Texas Gulf Coast but was transferred to Louisiana when the threat of an invasion of Texas by Union troops became imminent. He was mortally wounded while leading his troops in a dismounted charge at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 9, 1864. He was taken to Mansfield, where he died and was buried. The generally accepted date of his death is April 15, but Gen. Hamilton P. Bee, Buchel's commander, related in his official report of the battle that he died two days following the battle, on April 11.

Earlier that year Buchel had been appointed a brigadier general, but the appointment was never confirmed. Later, his body was taken by a detachment of his cavalry to Austin, and he was reinterred in the State Cemetery, where a eulogy was delivered by Lieutenant Governor Fletcher S. Stockdale. The state of Texas erected an impressive stone at his grave. Buchel, who never married, was described by his contemporaries as a small, quiet man and is said to have been unassuming, courteous, and gentlemanly in manner. He spoke seven languages. In his honor the state legislature designated an area as Buchel County in 1887, but the county was never organized and eventually became part of Brewster County.

GPS Coordinates
30° 15.918, -097° 43.634

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery
Austin

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