John Knight Bucklyn Born Foster, R. I., March 15, 1834

The following information is taken from the biographical sketch which starts at page 401 in the excellent public-domain history of Battery E, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery, written by a person with personal knowledge of Bucklyn. We have a copy of that history available for you to view here.

John K. Bucklyn

The father of John Knight Bucklyn was Jeremiah P. Bucklyn, an esteemed citizen of Foster, Rhode Island. His mother was Abby Potter, a woman of good ability and most excellent character. His grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution. His father, who inherited the military spirit of his parent, was at one time a captain in the Rhode Island militia.

John K., in his younger years, attended the public schools of Providence and Warwick, where he was a promising pupil. After leaving school he learned the machinist’s trade, in which he accumulated some property. His active spirit not finding full scope in that limited but useful field of labor, in the spring of 1854 he entered the academy at East Greenwich, remaining there until winter.

He then taught school, and in the spring of 1856 he again entered the academy and continued his studies until late in the year, when he entered the Smithville Seminary, from which he graduated in 1857, taking the valedictory of his class. The same year he entered Brown University, from which he graduated with honor in 1861, receiving the degree of A. M. After his graduation he became a teacher at a salary of about one thousand dollars per year.

Feeling that the urgent call of the government for volunteers demanded his services, he threw up his position as teacher. Although offered a commission he preferred to earn his promotion, and declined it, and enlisted about the first of September, 1861, as a private in Battery E, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery.

Upon reporting for duty he was ordered to act as quartermaster- sergeant. Upon the appointment of the non-commissioned officers of the company he received a warrant to continue in that capacity. On the first of March, 1862, he was promoted to second lieutenant, and Dec. 31, 1862, to first lieutenant. Upon Lieutenant Jastram’s appointment as acting assistant adjutant-general on Randolph’s staff on the I5th of May, 1863, Lieutenant Bucklyn became commander of the battery.

Bucklyn commanded the battery until the end of April, 1864, when he was assigned to the staff of Colonel Tompkins, who commanded the Sixth corps artillery. Bucklyn distinguished himself in the battles of Grant’s campaign and in the battles in which the Sixth corps was engaged under Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley.

The endorsements of his superior officers for promotions are a credit to him, and showed that those most competent to judge were desirous that he should be promoted, as he was, to brevet captain on the 19th of October, 1864, “For gallant and meritorious and ofttimes distinguished service before Richmond and in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Additional Information

Historian Steve Usler, of Warwick, Rhode Island, has written an article about John Knight Bucklin. Volume 4, Civil War Historian (March/April 2008 issue). Usler is in the process of writing a full book about John Knight Bucklyn.

Read still more biographical J.K. Bucklyn material, written at the start of the 1900’s. It is a part of the material we have not yet incorporated into our data base or biography of John K. Bucklyn, because of lack of funds to transcribe the mass of material, or to find volunteers to do so.