On Wednesday, December 16, 1863 Union General John Buford died in Washington, D.C. of typhoid. Born into a prominent Kentucky family that subsequently moved to Illinois, Buford attended Knox College and then West Point from where he graduated in 1848.
When the Civil War started, Buford was made assistant inspector general of the defenses of Washington, D.C. He subsequently served under the commands of Pope, McClellan, Hooker, and Burnside. But it was at Gettysburg where Buford gained his greatest fame.
On July 1, 1863 his skillful defensive troop alignments gave the North the time to establish the important positions that would become the backbone of the Union defenses for the remainder of the battle. For his achievements, Buford was promoted to the rank of major general just hours before his death.