Lieutenant Joseph Julius Buck
Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry
Buck and his wife Amelia after the War
Joseph Julius Buck was one of the more mature members of his community to enlist in the ranks for service in the war. At the age of thirty-six, he had gained the respect to begin the conflict as the Second Sergeant of his company which was raised near his Minnesota home.
During his distinguished career, Buck would be promoted on new year's day 1862 to Second Battalion Sergeant Major. On June 13, 1863, Buck would achieve the unique rank of Jan. 1, Regimental Sergeant Major. Prior to the detachment of Brackett's Battalion from the Fifth Iowa Cavalry to whose glory they had contributed so much, Buck was commissioned as Second Lieutenant of Company G.
According to notes compiled by his daughter, Buck was born on September 16,1825 in Ulm, Germany, the youngest of seven sons of Roman and Maria Buck. His father owned a brewery in Ulm. His parents were strict Roman Catholics, and were eager for their youngest son to enter theological seminary in preparation for ordination. However, Joseph "rebelled at wanting to become a priest," and after graduating from Heidelberg University, he emigrated across the seas to Wisconsin. Eventually he Watertown, Minnesota, which he called home when he joined the cavalry.
Buck's daughter recorded his account of being captured and escaping by digging beneath the walls of the confinement area.
After Brackett's Battalion separated from the rest of the regiment, it was dispatched to participate in the Northwestern Indian Expedition for two years service in the Dakota Territory. During his service on the frontier, Buck was partially scalped, and for the rest of his life bore the scars of this encounter on his upper forehead.
Following his retirement, he opened a store in Stillwater, Minnesota. He was clerk of the Circuit Court of Burnett and Vilas County 1878-1881. He married Amelia Meister in Illinois in 1881. After living in St. Louis, they moved to Milwaukee. Eventually Buck received a pension for war related disabilities, and when he died in 1905, he was confined at a Veteran's Hospital in Wisconsin.
The information about the life of this distinguished veteran of both the War Between the States and the Indian Wars was provided by his great-granddaughter Patricia Andrews.