John Bufford was one of the key reasons why the Union won
Gettysburg, and only six months after his courageous fighting he died of pneumonia. John Bufford was born in Kentucky in 1826 and then moved to Illinois before he was excepted to West Point. Bufford went to West Point and graduated in 1848. John Bufford is one of the great leaders of American history. John Bufford had many years of experience in the military and helped win one of the biggest battles in the Civil War, Gettysburg. John Bufford has had a solid back round in the military. After he graduated from West Point he saw a little fighting action when he was along the frontier and on an expedition against the Mormons in Utah through 1857-1858. He started off as a captain and then was promoted through the years as Major General. After Bufford's work in the Washington defenses he was put on the Pope's staff in the northern Virginia. He received a brigadier's star and command of a brigade of cavalry men. He lead his newly cavalry at 2nd Bull Run and he was wounded. " He cared for the well being of his men, and the outcome of the battle " ( Foote 297). That next Spring Bufford had command of the Reserve Brigade, which was made up of regular army units. With his new command he took part in Stonman's raid during Chancellorsville Campaign. He also lead the division at Brandy Station, Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville. John Bufford would soon face the biggest challenge in his life, and he would need all his experience and knowledge from his past to overcome the challenge. It was two of Buffords brigades that caused the fighting at Gettysburg northwest of the town. He was able to hold off the Confederate attack with few men until the Union came to back them up. This was a very important move for the Union in the Battle of Gettysburg because it enabled the Confederate to take the high ground. '" The whole damn Reb army's going to be here in the morning. They'll move right through the town and occupy those damned hills '" (Shaara 38). Bufford was smart enough to see the Confederates plan and by stopping the Confederates, it let the Union take the high ground. The high ground later in the battle proved to be a big key. Even Confederate General Longstreet said " Cemetery Ridge was essential us " (West 145). By Bufford no letting the Confederates take the hill he helped not only win the battle but maybe even the whole war. John Bufford never received any kind of notice for this key decision and later the next year he died. John Bufford had proven himself to be a great commander. With his intelligence in war fair he won many key battles which made himself a well recognized leader. John Bufford was one of the dominate leaders in the Civil War.