Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today Continued

Today,June 29, 1863, "the point" of the spear of the  Union Army of the Potomac is led by General John Buford of Kentucky and his cavalry unit as it advances on Gettysburg.

Special Orders Number 99 instructed Buford’s 1st Cavalry Division to move ahead  through Emmitsburg and on to Gettysburg, ten miles north of the Maryland line, where he would "cover and protect the front and communicated information of the event rapidly and surely"
Buford’s 2,823 soldiers spent all day  moving thirty miles northwest to Fountaindale, Pa. where they camp for the night.
Buford and some of his officers climbed a nearby mountain where they see Gettysburg to the east.
The background on John Buford from Wikipedia is that:
Buford was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, but was raised in Rock Island, Illinois, from the age of eight. His father was a prominent Democratic politician in Illinois and a political opponent of Abraham Lincoln. Buford was of English descent.[1] His family had a long military tradition. John Jr.'s grandfather, Simeon Buford, served in the cavalry during the American Revolutionary War under Henry "Lighthorse" Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee.[2] His great-uncle Colonel Abraham Buford (of the Waxhaw Massacre), also served in a Virginia regiment. His half-brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, would become a major general in the Union Army. His cousin, Abraham Buford, would become a cavalry brigadier general in the Confederate States Army.
After attending Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, for one year, Buford was accepted into the Class of 1848 at the United States Military Academy (West Point). Upperclassman during Buford's time at West Point included Fitz-John Porter (Class of 1845), George B. McClellan (1846), Thomas J. Jackson (1846), George Pickett (1846), and two future commanders and friends, George Stoneman (1846) and Ambrose Burnside (1847). Buford graduated 16th of 38 cadets and was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, transferring the next year to the 2nd U.S. Dragoons.[3] 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 to 1861.[4] He studied the works of General John Watts de Peyster, who urged that the skirmish line become the new line of battle.

Throughout 1860, Buford and his fellow soldiers had lived with talk of secession and the possibility of civil war, and when the Pony Express brought word that Fort Sumter had been fired on in April 1861, that possibility became a reality. As was the case with many West Pointers, Buford had to choose between North and South. Based on his background, Buford had ample reason to join the Confederacy. He was a native Kentuckian, the son of a slave-owning father, and the husband of a woman whose relatives would fight for the South, as would a number of his own. On the other hand, Buford had been educated in the North and come to maturity within the Army. His two most influential professional role models, Colonels Harney and Cooke, were Southerners who elected to remain with the Union and the U.S. Army. He loved his profession and his time on the frontier had snapped a number of threads that drew other Southerners home.
John Gibbon, a North Carolinian facing the same dilemma, recalled  the evening that John Buford committed himself to the Union:
One night after the arrival of the mail we were in his (Buford's) room, when Buford said in his slow and deliberate way "I got a letter from the Governor of Kentucky. He sent me word to come to Kentucky at once and I shall have anything I want." With a good deal of anxiety, I (Gibbon) asked "What did you answer, John?" And my relief was great when he replied "I sent him word I was a Captain in the United States Army and I intended to remain one"
130 years latter he will be portrayed in a movie about Gettysburg by veteran western actor Sam Elliot.