Napoleon Bonaparte Buford

Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, half-brother of John Buford, was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, on January 13, 1807. After receiving an education in the plantation schools, he was appointed to the West Point class of 1827. His most distinguished classmate was the future Confederate General Leonidas Polk, who thirty-five years later wrote to his wife: "[Buford] is as good a fellow as ever lived, and most devotedly my friend; a true Christian, a true soldier, and a gentleman, every inch of him." Following his graduation, Buford served as a lieutenant of artillery for eight years, but resigned in 1835 to engage in private business as a civil engineer. In 1843 he removed to Rock Island, Illinois, where he was successful as a merchant, banker, and railroad president. In 1861 he was bankrupted by the repudiated Southern state bond holdings of his bank. Assigning his property to his creditors, Buford accepted the colonelcy of the 27th Illinois Regiment, which he had recruited himself. He was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on April 15, 1862, and was awarded the brevet of major general "for gallant and meritorious services" in 1865. Meanwhile, he took part in the battle of Belmont; the campaign against Island No. 10; the battle of Corinth; and the early stages of the Vicksburg campaign. During the latter part of the war he was in command of the District of Arkansas at Helena, where he dealt capably with the droves of cotton speculators, smugglers, and carpetbaggers. After being mustered out of service in August, 1865, General Buford briefly held several successive Federal appointments. He later took up residence in Chicago and died there on March 28, 1883. He was buried at Rock Island.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.