John Buford: Bio, Accomplishments, Facts, Family, Quotes, Union, Early Life (2000)

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John Buford, Jr. (March 4, 1826 – December 16, 1863) was a United States Army cavalry officer. He fought for Union as a brigadier general during the American Civil War. Buford is best known for having played a major role in the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863 while in command of a division.

Buford graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1848. Buford remained loyal to the United States at the beginning of the Civil War, despite having been born in the divided border state of Kentucky. He fought during the war against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia as part of the Army of the Potomac. His first command was a cavalry brigade under Major General John Pope, and he distinguished himself at Second Bull Run in August 1862, where he was wounded, and also saw action at Antietam in September and Stoneman's Raid in spring 1863.

Buford's cavalry division played a crucial role in the Gettysburg Campaign that summer. Arriving at the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on June 30 before the Confederate troops reached the place, Buford set up defensive positions. On the morning of July 1, Buford's division was attacked by a Confederate division under the command of Major General Henry Heth. His men held just long enough for Union reinforcements to arrive. After a massive three day battle, the Union troops emerged victorious. Later, Buford rendered valuable service to the Army, both in the pursuit of Robert E. Lee after the Battle of Gettysburg, and in the Bristoe Campaign that autumn, but his health started to fail, possibly from typhoid. On his deathbed, he received a personal message from President Abraham Lincoln, promoting him to major general of volunteers in recognition of his tactical skill and leadership displayed on the first day of Gettysburg. He died at age 37.

Buford was portrayed by Sam Elliott in the 1993 film Gettysburg, based on Michael Shaara's novel The Killer Angels.

Buford is a character in the alternate history novel Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War, written by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen.

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