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Accession number 1995.002
Catalog Number 1995.002
Collection Pearce Civil War Collection
Object Name Letter
Title Buford (John) Papers, 1863
Creator Buford, John
Date September 16, 1863
Dates of Creation Sept. 16, 1863
Scope & Content This letter is written on "Headquarters 1st Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac" stationery and dated September 16, 1863, was written to Major General Alfred Pleasonton, commander of the cavalry. The letter describes Buford's actions in an engagement with the Confederate cavalry. After Gettysburg the Union army followed Gen. Robert E. Lee into Virginia where Lee was camped between the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers. There were reports in the Union camp that Lee was planning on moving his army farther south; in fact he had sent Gen. James Longstreet's Corps to Charleston, South Carolina and twelve thousand troops to Tennessee. To confirm the rumors Gen. George Meade asked Pleasonton to send out cavalry to probe the enemy's pickets. Pleasonton discovered cavalry had replaced the pickets. Pleasonton sent Brig. Gen. John Buford to engage the enemy cavalry and he did so, pushing them way back to Morton's and Raccoon Fords. Once there, Buford set up defenses and waited for the counter attack that never came. Meade now knew that the Confederates had escaped.
In his letter Buford describes his actions and the retreat of the 4th New York Cavalry. "The two squadron in the rear and under good cover and in easy support ran off and nearly returned to camp without firing a shot or being fired upon." Buford continued to write that he had never trusted the 4th N.Y. under the command of Brig. Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg, especially after the failure at Second Bull Run. Buford intended to ask for the dismissal of all those responsible for the unauthorized retreat, but died before he could do so.
Finding Aids Available in the archives or online at
People Gregg, David McMurtrie
Pleasonton, Alfred
Buford, John
Search Terms 4th New York Cavalry
Credit line Pearce Civil War Collection
Copyrights The copyright of these materials is managed by the Navarro College Archives on behalf of the Navarro College Foundation, 3100 W. Collin St., Corsicana, Texas 75110 Phone: 903-875-7438. Internet:

Reproductions of original materials and transcriptions may be available. Please contact the archivist for further information.