General Abraham Buford

ABRAHAM, son of William and Frances W. K. Buford, married Amanda Harris. Son William.

Abraham Buford was a cadet in the United States Military Academy, July 1, 1837, to July 1, 1841; brevet second lieutenant, First Dragoons, 1841; duty, Fort Atkinson, Kansas, 1841-42; Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, second lieutenant, First Dragoons, April 12, 1842; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1842-43; scouting on the plains, 1843; Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, 1843-44-45; Fort Washita, Indian Territory, 1845; Fort Gibson, 1845-46; Mexican War, 1846-48; first lieutenant, First Dragoons, December 6, 1846; battle of Buena Vista, February 22-23, 1847; brevet captain, February 23, 1847, for gallant and meritorious conduct at the battle of Buena Vista; Fort Gibson, 1848; Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1848; Socorro, New Mexico, 1848-49; Dona Ana, New Mexico, 1850-51; Fort Fillmore, New Mexico, 1851-52; skirmish on Puerto River, New Mexico, August 26, 1851; Cavalry School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, 1852-53; captain First Dragoons, June 15, 1853; secretary Harrodsburg, Kentucky, Military Asylum, 1853-54; resigned October 22, 1854; lived on his estate, "Bosque Bonita," near Versailles, Kentucky, 1854-61.

GENERAL ABRAHAM BUFORD was a man of enormous proportions, and his strength and endurance equaled his size. As thoroughly a son of Mars in temperament as physique, he was born a fighter, and so rigid a disciplinarian that he could not always resist the temptation to command in civil life.

At the beginning of the war, he was a farmer and stock raiser. There was too much at stake for him to go with the South, without due consideration, and he did not decide to do so until Morgan's raid into Kentucky, in 1862.

He joined Morgan at Georgetown, and from there went South; was appointed colonel, and began at once to recruit his command. With five thousand raw recruits he joined Bragg and covered his retreat from Perryville. On the arrival of Bragg at Knoxville, Kirby Smith ordered that the mounted men of Buford's command be dismounted, in order that their horses might be used for the artillery. Buford Protested against this, and, as his protest was of no avail, gave up his command. He then reported to Jefferson Davis, in Richmond, who gave him his commission as brigadier, and ordered him to a brigade in Loring's division, consisting of three Kentucky regiments, commanded by Crossland, Thompson, and Shackett, and one from Alabama, which brigade he commanded at the battle of Champion Hill, where Grant defeated the Confederates. After this defeat Buford did not enter Vicksburg, but joined Joe Johnson, at Jackson, Mississippi; remained at Canton until Sherman moved on Vicksburg, when he fell back to the Tombigbee.

In the spring of 1864 he was ordered to join Forrest, at Tupelo, Mississippi, and in May moved through Tennessee into Southern Kentucky and on to Paducah. In this campaign Buford captured enough horses to mount his command, and then fell back to Jackson, with all the plunder, and his men equipped as cavalrymen. From Jackson, Forrest moved to Fort Pillow, and Buford was ordered , with five hundred men, to make a feint against Columbus and Paducah, which was successfully done, stopping at these places several transports loaded with men for Fort Pillow. Paducah was garrisoned by five thousand men. General Payne was summoned to surrender, which he was near doing. Buford captured all the Federal artillery horses and went off unmolested. He joined Forrest at Tupelo. Sturgis moved out of Memphis, with five thousand men. Forrest met him at Tishemingo Creek, and after a terrible battle of four hours, captured his entire command, except himself and staff. In the morning before the fight Forrest asked Buford what he thought of the situation, to which he replied, "Fight and fight damn quick."

This was one of the most successful cavalry engagements of the war. Two months later Buford engaged General A. J. Smith, and in half an hour lost four hundred fifty men killed and wounded, Smith falling slowly back to Memphis. In the following spring General Wilson gave Forrest a terrible whipping at Selma, and Buford fell back, in front of the victorious army, to Columbus, Georgia. On the retreat of Hood's army from Nashville, Buford covered the retreat, and in a fight with a Federal Major, who struck him on the head with a sword, shouting as he did so, "Surrender you damn big rebel," and Buford's reply was to kill him instantly by a shot from his revolver.

At the close of the war, he surrendered, at Gainesville, Tennessee, and then retired to his beautiful home, "Bosque Bonita," where he once more engaged in breeding and raising race-horses, naming many of them for his old army friends.

Here he lost his only child, a boy, at the very threshold of manhood. Neither he nor his wife ever recovered from this terrible blow, and she died a short time after. With these sorrows came the loss of his home and all his possessions. Crushed and broken by grief and age, there was no incentive to begin life again, so he ended it all by shooting himself, in Indiana, June 9, 1884.


Text quoted from: History and Genealogy of the Buford Family In America With Records of a Number of Allied Families

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