General John Buford

major bill

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Tonight Iam starting General John Buford A Military Biography written by Edward G. Longacre. I purchased the book some time ago and it has been sitting on my shelf unread.

I have not seen many books about Buford and an wondering what track Mr. Longacre will take.

So what are forum members view of General Buford? Being from Kentucky, did he give any thought of casting his lot with the Confederacy? I expect in a couple days I will know a whole lot more about Buford.
 

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PeterT

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Look forward to hearing what you think of the book. Might have to go on my list.

Interesting character this chap. Was instrumental at Gettysburg on the first day. Held up the confederates until Reynolds could get his corps up.

His cousin, Abraham, fought for the Confederacy and was a breeder of thoroughbred horses. He lost everything though (forget how). The farm is still there today as a breeding operation.
 

Ole Miss

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I have always thought that Buford was an exceptional leader of men and a true horseman. I have not read any criticisms of him and in fact both friends and foes had great respect for him and his actions. The country was robbed of his worth with his early death in December of 1863.
Regards
David
 

MikeyB

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I don't know much about him except for his actions at Gettysburg. Question for those who are more learned:
If you exclude his actions at Gettysburg, was Buford a fair, good, great or superb cavalryman?

Said differently, was he just a competent soldier who had one banner day on July 1st, or was he a great cavalryman whose other contributions are overshadowed by July 1st?

Meade must have trusted him after his actions at Gettysburg, could he have been Chief of Cavalary, AoP had he lived?
 

Joshism

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I wonder what Buford would have made of Sheridan.

I especially wonder what Sam Elliott would have made of Sheridan. :wink:
 

Eric Wittenberg

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I don't know much about him except for his actions at Gettysburg. Question for those who are more learned:
If you exclude his actions at Gettysburg, was Buford a fair, good, great or superb cavalryman?

Said differently, was he just a competent soldier who had one banner day on July 1st, or was he a great cavalryman whose other contributions are overshadowed by July 1st?

Meade must have trusted him after his actions at Gettysburg, could he have been Chief of Cavalary, AoP had he lived?
I will allow John Gibbon to answer your question.

Late in life, Gibbon composed a document that he called The John Buford Memoir. The first sentence of it says what needs to be said: "John Buford was the best cavalryman I ever saw." 'Nuff said.

To answer your question about Chief of Cavalry AoP, no. In October 1863, William Starke Rosecrans specifically requested that Buford be sent to him at Chattanooga to assume command of the Army of the Cumberland's Cavalry Corps, which needed a new commander due to the illness of David S. Stanley. Buford agreed, provided that he could take the Reserve Brigade with him. That was approved, but Buford was in the field for the Mine Run Campaign and could not be spared. Then, before he could report, he fell ill with the typhoid that killed him. However, had he lived, he would have spent the rest of the war commanding western cavalry.

I am not one for what-if's--in point of fact, I despise them and avoid them at pretty much all costs. That said, the thought of a battle royale between Buford and Forrest is a fascinating possibility, particularly because Buford's first cousin, Brig. Gen. Abraham Buford, commanded a division under Forrest.
 
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MikeyB

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I will allow John Gibbon answer your question.

Late in life, Gibbon composed a document that he called The John Buford Memoir. The first sentence of it says what needs to be said: "John Buford was the best cavalryman I ever saw." 'Nuff said.

To answer your question about Chief of Cavalry AoP, no. In October 1863, William Starke Rosecrans specifically requested that Buford be sent to him at Chattanooga to assume command of the Army of the Cumberland's Cavalry Corps, which needed a new commander due to the illness of David S. Stanley. Buford agreed, provided that he could take the Reserve Brigade with him. That was approved, but Buford was in the field for the Mine Run Campaign and could not be spared. Then, before he could report, he fell ill with the typhoid that killed him. However, had he lived, he would have spent the rest of the war commanding western cavalry.

I am not one for what-if's--in point of fact, I despise them and avoid them at pretty much all costs. That said, the thought of a battle royale between Buford and Forrest is a fascinating possibility, particularly because Buford's first cousin, Brig. Gen. Abraham Buford, commanded a division under Forrest.
Thanks Eric. How did Rosecrans know of Buford? Was it by reputation only, or did they cross paths in the pre-war army?
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Thanks Eric. How did Rosecrans know of Buford? Was it by reputation only, or did they cross paths in the pre-war army?
I doubt that they had crossed paths in the pre-war army, but the fact that John Buford was as good as the Union had was well known among the Union high command. It was not a big surprise that Rosecrans would have asked for Buford after talking with other officers. George Thomas, as just one example, had served in the cavalry before the war.
 

Deleted User CS

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I have read Longacre's book on Buford a few years ago. His book is not too bad however, I like Wittenberg's Buford book much better. I like the fact that Wittenberg uses new primary source materials not found in the Longacre book which just reuses the same old outdated familiar Gettysburg sources. In my estimation, Wittenberg's book is the gold standard for John Buford. David.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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I have read Longacre's book on Buford a few years ago. His book is not too bad however, I like Wittenberg's Buford book much better. I like the fact that Wittenberg uses new primary source materials not found in the Longacre book which just reuses the same old outdated familiar Gettysburg sources. In my estimation, Wittenberg's book is the gold standard for John Buford. David.
Thank you, David. I really appreciate it.
 

Deleted User CS

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Another very important point I neglected to mention about Wittenberg's biography of Buford is the simple fact that this wonderful book was written without the General's personal or military papers, which if memory serves me correctly, were burned by his wife on orders from Buford himself before he died. This simple fact further demonstrates Wittenberg's ability to still produce a first rate book in spite of this handicap. Just amazing. David.
 


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