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Person
J. Buford
J. Buford

Federal (USA)

Brigadier General

John Buford

(1826 - 1863)
Home State: Illinois
Command Billet: Staff, AoP Chief of Cavalry
Branch of Service: Cavalry
Unit: Army of the Potomac

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Before the Antietam Campaign:
After graduating from West Point in 1848 he served in the dragoons in the West and on the expedition against the Mormons in Utah (1857-58). He was appointed Captain, 2nd US Dragoons 9 March 1854, which was designated the 2nd US Cavalry 3 August 1861. He was promoted to Major and Assistant Adjutant General 12 November, and Brigadier General, US Volunteers 27 July 1862. He led a brigade of Cavalry in July and August 1862, but was wounded at 2nd Bull Run.

In the Antietam Campaign:
"On September 9, 1862, McClellan pulled Buford from brigade command and appointed him Chief of Cavalry ... At the Battle of Antietam, just a week later, Buford had no field command and was stuck at "Little Mac's" headquarters during most of the action. He was, however, near Corps Commander General Joseph Hooker when the latter was wounded at the "Bloody Cornfield" and overheard the General's wish that General George G. Meade take over his command. Spurring his horse, Buford took the request to McClellan, who issued the order. Buford, then, played a major role in getting the right commander to the right place at a crucial time. It would not be the last time this would happen. "
(from Petruzzi)

The remainder of the War:
He remained in the Staff postion, under Burnside, through Fredericksburg (December 1862). He then took command of the Reserve Brigade, and was on Stoneman's raid in the Chancellorsville Campaign. He commanded the division at Brandy Station, Aidie, Middleburg, and Upperville.

He is best known for his leadership at the first day's action at Gettysburg, 1 July 1863. With two brigades he and his cavalry held the ground against considerable odds until the arrival of Union infantry.

He was ill for most of the summer following Gettysburg, but did see action at Brandy Station. He was more seriously ill that fall, and died of Typhoid fever that December. He was appointed Major General on his deathbed by President Lincoln (to date from 1 July 1863).

References, Sources, and other notes:
Source: Heitman, Francis Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army 1789-1903, Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1903.

More on the Web:
See the comprehensive Buford biography, by J. David Petruzzi - source of the quote above - on the excellent Buford's Boys website for a wealth of detail on the General and Cavalry more generally; or
Another detailed piece called The Devil's to Pay by Tom Gladwell on RootsWeb.

Birth Date: 3/4/1826    Place of Birth: Woodford County, KY    
College: US Military Academy, West Point, NY    Graduating Year: 1848    
Death Date: 12/16/1863    Death Place: Washington, DC    Burial Place: West Point Cemetery (USMA), New York

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