General John Buford

General John Buford

General John Buford

General John Buford

Synopsis

This book tells the life story of John Buford. He and his cavalry played a crucial role on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg and he was also involved in the Sioux Campaign of 1855.

Excerpt

When, several years ago, a publisher approached me with a proposal for a biography of John Buford, I rejected the idea out of hand. At the time I was busy with other projects but I also feared that a notorious scarcity of first-person sources—especially the lack of a substantial body of Buford papers—would prevent the development of a fully rounded life study. In the intervening years I have often regretted my decision, for Buford, who never received a biographer's tribute, manifestly deserves one—not only because of his role in helping shape the pivotal battle of Gettysburg but because of the major influence he exercised on mounted tactics through much of the Civil War and well into the twentieth century. Even so, short of the discovery of a substantial collection of Buford correspondence I seriously doubted that I would ever attempt to write the book to which Buford's achievements entitled him.

Over the past three years, a couple of factors combined to change my mind. One was the realization that archival material relating to Buford and the published and unpublished observations of his comrades and opponents might help fill the research void. A second factor was the 1992-93 effort to film Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Gettysburg, The Killer Angels. Despite its numerous . . .

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