The three thousand cavalry troopers led by John Buford on the first day of Gettysburg were tasked with slowing down the Confederate advance long enough for Union reinforcements to arrive on the field. The combination of skill and luck used by General Buford successfully blunted the advance of Heth’s division on McPherson’s Ridge and contributed greatly to eventual Union victory at Gettysburg.
Born in Kentucky, General Buford’s promising military career was cut short when he came down with typhoid fever in the autumn of 1863. This illness resulted in his passing in December of the same year.
The Buford Memorial Association was formed in 1888 with the mission of erecting a suitable memorial on the field.
Located on the Chambersburg Pike, the John Buford Memorial was dedicated on July 1, 1895.
Surrounding the base are four Ordnance Rifles, the kind which were used in a Horse Artillery Battery. Among these guns is to be found number 233 and according to John Calef who commanded such a battery under Buford’s command, this was the gun that fired the very first Union artillery shot of the battle.