Brigadier General John Buford (USA)

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Brigadier General John Buford (USA)

Buford was born in Woodford County, Kentucky on 4 March 1826, but was raised in Rock Island, Illinois. His father was a prominent Democrat and political opponent of Abraham Lincoln. His family had a long military tradition. His grandfather, Simeon Buford, served in the cavalry during the American Revolutionary War under Henry "Lighthorse" Lee. His half-brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, would become a major general in the Union Army, while his cousin, Abraham Buford, would become a cavalry brigadier general in the Confederate Army.

He attended West Point and graduated 16th of 38 cadets in 1848. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, transferring the next year to the 2nd U.S. Dragoons. He served in Texas and against the Sioux, served on peacekeeping duty in Bleeding Kansas, and in the Utah War in 1858. He was stationed at Fort Crittenden, Utah, from 1859 - 1861.

When war broke out, Buford was forced to choose between North and South. While his background pointed him South, his military ties, including his two most influential professional role models, Colonels William S. Harney and Philip St. George Cooke, Southerners who remained loyal to the Union, pointed him North. He served several months in the defense of Washington, and in July 1862 was raised to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers.

Major General John Pope appointed him commander of the II Corps Cavalry Brigade of the Army of Virginia. He was wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. When he returned to service, he served as chief of cavalry for Major Generals George B. McClellan and Ambrose E. Burnside in the Army of the Potomac. However, Buford desired a field command. During the Maryland Campaign, Buford replaced Brigadier General George Stoneman on McClellan's staff for the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.

Major General Joseph Hooker gave Buford the Reserve Brigade of regular cavalry in the 1st Division, Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker remarked that Buford would have been a better choice to head the Cavalry Corps over Alfred Pleasonton. Buford led his new division at the Battle of Brandy Station.

At Gettysburg, Buford rose to fame. Commanding the 1st Division, he is credited with selecting the field of battle at Gettysburg. On 30 June, Buford's command rode into Gettysburg, and Buford quickly realized that he was facing a superior force of rebels to his front and set out to hold the high ground south of town until the I Corps, under Major General John F. Reynolds, could come up in force. Buford's decisions and the tenacity of his men allowed the Union to secure Cemetery Ridge and ultimately defeat Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Pleasonton sent Buford's division to Emmitsburg, Maryland, to resupply and refit, uncovering the Union left flank. During the retreat from Gettysburg, Buford pursued the Confederates to Warrenton, Virginia. He covered Major General George Meade's retrograde movement in the October 1863 Bristoe Campaign.

Buford fell ill late in 1863, possibly from typhoid, and he took respite at the Washington home of his good friend, General George Stoneman. On 16 December, Stoneman initiated the proposal that Buford be promoted to major general. Lincoln assented writing, "I am informed that General Buford will not survive the day. It suggests itself to me that he will be made Major General for distinguished and meritorious service at the Battle of Gettysburg." Buford asked, "Does he mean it?" When assured the promotion was genuine, he replied simply, "It is too late, now I wish I could live."

He died at 2 p.m., 16 December 1863. Lincoln was among the mourners at his funeral and his pallbearers included General Casey, Heintzelman, Sickles, Schofield, Hancock, Doubleday, and Warren. He was buried alongside fellow Gettysburg hero Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing.

John Buford.jpg
 

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JPK Huson 1863

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Ah. " ... little, triangular, gray eye whose expression is determined, not to say sinister." Thanks very much for sharing this. We just do not have enough looks at Buford- seeing him in color is terrific. Makes you wonder who convinced him to go sit for a photograph, you'd have to guess it was not his idea.
 

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Brigadier General John Buford (USA)

Buford was born in Woodford County, Kentucky on 4 March 1826, but was raised in Rock Island, Illinois. His father was a prominent Democrat and political opponent of Abraham Lincoln. His family had a long military tradition. His grandfather, Simeon Buford, served in the cavalry during the American Revolutionary War under Henry "Lighthorse" Lee. His half-brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, would become a major general in the Union Army, while his cousin, Abraham Buford, would become a cavalry brigadier general in the Confederate Army.

He attended West Point and graduated 16th of 38 cadets in 1848. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, transferring the next year to the 2nd U.S. Dragoons. He served in Texas and against the Sioux, served on peacekeeping duty in Bleeding Kansas, and in the Utah War in 1858. He was stationed at Fort Crittenden, Utah, from 1859 - 1861.

When war broke out, Buford was forced to choose between North and South. While his background pointed him South, his military ties, including his two most influential professional role models, Colonels William S. Harney and Philip St. George Cooke, Southerners who remained loyal to the Union, pointed him North. He served several months in the defense of Washington, and in July 1862 was raised to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers.

Major General John Pope appointed him commander of the II Corps Cavalry Brigade of the Army of Virginia. He was wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run. When he returned to service, he served as chief of cavalry for Major Generals George B. McClellan and Ambrose E. Burnside in the Army of the Potomac. However, Buford desired a field command. During the Maryland Campaign, Buford replaced Brigadier General George Stoneman on McClellan's staff for the battles of South Mountain and Antietam.

Major General Joseph Hooker gave Buford the Reserve Brigade of regular cavalry in the 1st Division, Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker remarked that Buford would have been a better choice to head the Cavalry Corps over Alfred Pleasonton. Buford led his new division at the Battle of Brandy Station.

At Gettysburg, Buford rose to fame. Commanding the 1st Division, he is credited with selecting the field of battle at Gettysburg. On 30 June, Buford's command rode into Gettysburg, and Buford quickly realized that he was facing a superior force of rebels to his front and set out to hold the high ground south of town until the I Corps, under Major General John F. Reynolds, could come up in force. Buford's decisions and the tenacity of his men allowed the Union to secure Cemetery Ridge and ultimately defeat Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Pleasonton sent Buford's division to Emmitsburg, Maryland, to resupply and refit, uncovering the Union left flank. During the retreat from Gettysburg, Buford pursued the Confederates to Warrenton, Virginia. He covered Major General George Meade's retrograde movement in the October 1863 Bristoe Campaign.

Buford fell ill late in 1863, possibly from typhoid, and he took respite at the Washington home of his good friend, General George Stoneman. On 16 December, Stoneman initiated the proposal that Buford be promoted to major general. Lincoln assented writing, "I am informed that General Buford will not survive the day. It suggests itself to me that he will be made Major General for distinguished and meritorious service at the Battle of Gettysburg." Buford asked, "Does he mean it?" When assured the promotion was genuine, he replied simply, "It is too late, now I wish I could live."

He died at 2 p.m., 16 December 1863. Lincoln was among the mourners at his funeral and his pallbearers included General Casey, Heintzelman, Sickles, Schofield, Hancock, Doubleday, and Warren. He was buried alongside fellow Gettysburg hero Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing.

View attachment 109299
Thank you so much. I did not know he was buried alongside A. Cushing.
 



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