Buford General of the Month

May  20, 2013

     A Rock Island man who played a key role in the Civil War is being honored by the state of Illinois. General John Buford is the "general of the month" at the Old State Capitol Historic Site in Springfield during its commemoration of the war's 175th anniversary.

     Assistant site manager, Mike Burke, says Buford was the commander of the first Union Army troops to arrive in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 30th, 1863. And he decided this was the place for the Union Army to make a stand. 

     "July 1st, 1863 the Confederates come marching down the road, and run into Buford. His 2,500 cavalry soldiers are able to delay the Confederates long enough for more Union infantry reinforcments to arrive and eventually occupy the hills and ridges south of the town. And that's where they make their stand for the rest of the battle, and of course eventually won the battle."

     In the movie, "Gettysburg," Buford is portrayed by Sam Elliott. The general though did not survive long enough to take advantage of his fame - he died six months later from typhoid fever.  

     Through the end of the month, the Old State Capitol is displaying a picture of Buford, his biography, a cavalry battle flag, and other army artifacts.