March 25th 1840

On this day, 174 years ago, Myles Keogh was born at Orchard House just outside Leighlinbridge, County Carlow in Ireland. We continue to honour his life and his military career:
"A man who defends his own country or attacks another is no more than a soldier.
But he, who adopts some other country as his own and makes offer of his sword and his blood, is more than a soldier. He is a hero."

Emile Barrault, French author and philosopher

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

"We did not like the style of Captain Miles Keogh"

On January 7, 1864, Myles Keogh (left) was transfered to the staff of General George Stoneman who, at the time, was posted in Washington as Chief of the Cavalry Bureau. After continuous requests for a return to active duty, Stoneman was finally assigned command of the XXIII Corps based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Keogh accompanied him as an aide-de-camp, a position he was to hold for the remainder of the war. Stoneman was only to command that Corps for a little over two months and by the beginning of April, he was transfered to the Army of the Ohio as a Cavalry Division commander, based at HQ in Mossy Creek, Tennessee. Almost coincidental with this assignment, Myles Keogh received his new rank as Major in the Volunteer service on April 7.

The rugged appearance of the Union soldiers in the war's western theater were in direct contrast somewhat more polished ranks in the Army of the Potomac. Occasional shoulder straps, white hats rather than black ones, and a larger sized hat badge were the only marks that had survived among Sherman's mid-western cavalry. Keogh would have been an officer conscious of his image, no doubt a requirement for a soldier who had previously served on the staff of three generals including George B. McClellan. His dapper appearance - neat new uniform, white linen shirt and white collar - was the source of some amusement to his new colleagues as recorded by Captain Theodore Allen, 7th Ohio Cavalry, whose Company D served as an escort to Stoneman's HQ. In his memoirs - "Reminiscences of a Volunteer" - Captain Allen recalled his first impression of Myles Keogh:
"We did not like the style of Captain Miles Keogh; there was altogether too much style. He was as handsome a young man as I ever saw...He rode a horse like a Centaur. He had a fresh Irish complexion like the pink side of a ripe peach - more like the complexion of a sixteen year old girl than of a cavalry soldier. His uniform was spotless, and fitted him like the skin of a sausage; if there had been any more of the man, or any less of the uniform, it would have been a all events we did not care much for Captain Keogh, and particularly did not like his style. We gave him the 'cold shoulder' and as he passed us snide remarks were passed, such as 'I wonder if his mother cuts his hair?' 'What laundry do you think he patronizes?', etc., and nobody permitted him to drink from their canteen."
Captain Allen and the "Buckeyes' were soon to change their opinion of Stoneman's staff officer as the war entered another stage - The Atlanta Campaign...

Keogh's Generals (Part 4) - George Stoneman

January 1864 - Within days of returning to Culpeper and to the camp of Buford’s former Division, Keogh accepted an appointment to join the staff of General George Stoneman (left). It was at Stoneman’s rented home in Washington where Buford had spent his final weeks so Keogh would have become well acquainted with George Stoneman during November and December, 1863.

From accounts written by Civil War historians, Major General George Stoneman could have easily been dubbed ‘the nearly man’. 

Many times he was on the cusp of a successful mission or a famous victory, only to be thwarted by ill fate or poor decision making. However, taking into account many of his actual achievements - militarily and politically - history should not harshly judge George Stoneman.

Born on a family farm in Busti, New York, George was the first-born of ten children. His father, George Stoneman, Sr., was a lumberman and justice of the peace in Busti. George Jr. studied at the Jamestown Academy before being accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was a student in the famed class of '46, who graduated just as the Mexican War began. Fifty-three of the fifty-nine members in this class (the largest in the Academy's history to that point) fought in Mexico. When the Civil War erupted, ten members of that class became Confederate generals; twelve became Union generals. Stoneman's roommate at West Point was none other than the skilled and wily Confederate general, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson while another of Stoneman's classmates was Samuel D. Sturgis, later to be Myles Keogh's commanding officer in the 7th Cavalry.

George Stoneman's first assignment was with the 1st U.S. Dragoons, serving on the western frontier and in California. As quartermaster of the Mormon Battalion, he partook of their march from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to San Diego, California. Stoneman obviously formed a strong bond with this part of his country as he was later quoted wishing - "I will embrace the first opportunity to get to California and it is altogether probable that when once there I shall never again leave it." This love of “The Golden State” would be renewed in later life. He also took part in a number of Indian campaigns, protecting and supervising the survey parties that mapped the Sierra Nevada range for railroad lines.

After promotion to captain of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry in March 1855, he served mainly in Texas and by the start of the Civil War in 1861, Stoneman (right) was in command of Fort Brown, Texas. It was here that he famously refused the order of Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs to surrender the fort to the newly established Confederate authorities. Stoneman hastily readied his troops and escaped to the north with most of his command. Returning east, he served as a Major in the 1st U.S. Cavalry and then as adjutant to Major General George B. McClellan in western Virginia. As the cavalry was being organised in the Army of the Potomac, he was given command of the Cavalry Reserve before being promoted on merit to the post of Chief of Cavalry.

Stoneman was soon assigned the rank of Brigadier General on August 13, 1861, but despite this rapid rise in rank, Stoneman did not relate well to his commander, McClellan. In Stoneman's opinion, 'Little Mac' did not understand the proper use of cavalry in warfare, relegating it to assignments in small units attached to infantry brigades. This type of organisation fared poorly in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles of 1862, where the centralised Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart seriously outperformed their Union counterparts.

A welcome distraction to this frustration came on November 22, 1861, when George Stoneman married the vivacious Mary Oliver Hardisty (left), who, like his mother, came from Baltimore. They eventually had four children: Cornelius, the oldest son; George Jr. (who later became a prominent lawyer in Los Angeles and Arizona); and two daughters – Katherine Cheney and Adele.

After the Peninsula Campaign, Stoneman was back in the field, this time with an infantry division, commanding the II and III Corps. By November 1862, he was again promoted, this time to the rank of Major General of the volunteers. As the Union army again changed command with the appointment of Joseph Hooker, Stoneman found himself switched back to command of the Cavalry Corp. Hooker, it seemed, had a better understanding of the strategic value of a centralised Cavalry Corps that could undertake long raids into enemy territory, destroying supplies, and gathering intelligence about the enemy forces. They were no longer subject to the commanders of small infantry units.

Stoneman [seated centre] and personal staff, 1863 - Keogh's friend, A.J. Alexander, seated right.

The plan for the Battle of Chancellorsville was strategically daring. Hooker assigned Stoneman a key role in which his Cavalry Corps would raid deeply into enemy territory, destroying vital railroad lines and supplies, distracting Lee from Hooker's main assaults. Buford and Keogh accompanied Stoneman on this 1863 raid but the mission was continually hampered by severe rain and floods. A more detailed article on this raid can be read here.

The Union defeat at Chancellorsville was crushing and Hooker considered Stoneman's raid as one of the principal reasons for this lack of success. Hooker also needed to deflect criticism from himself and immediately relieved Stoneman from his cavalry command, sending him back to Washington, D.C., for medical treatment (chronic hemorrhoids, exacerbated by cavalry service), where in July he became a Chief of the U.S. Cavalry Bureau - a desk job.

In early 1864, Stoneman was impatient with garrison duty in Washington and requested another field command from his old friend Maj. Gen. John Schofield, who was in command of the Department of the Ohio. Although originally slated for an infantry corps, Stoneman assumed command of the Cavalry Corps of what would be known as the Army of the Ohio. Myles Keogh was to leave the First Cavalry Division to accompany him.

General Stoneman as illustrated in Harper's Weekly

As the army fought in the Atlanta Campaign under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, Stoneman and his aide, Major Keogh, were captured by Confederate soldiers outside Macon, Georgia, becoming the highest ranking Union general imprisoned. He was incarcerated for three months before being exchanged relatively quickly based on the personal request of Sherman to the Confederates.

Stoneman returned to duty in December 1864 and led a raid from East Tennessee into southwestern Virginia before leading a final devastating raid into Virginia and North Carolina in 1865, taking Salem, destroying the Moratock Iron Furnace (a Confederate foundry) and sacking Salisbury in an effort to free about 1,400 prisoners thought to be held in the local prison.
"Virgil Caine is the name, and I served on the Danville train,
Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again..."

From the song 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down'
During the final days of the war, his command nearly captured Confederate president Jefferson Davis during his flight from Richmond, Virginia and, in recognition of his service, George Stoneman was retained in the regular army and brevetted a Major General.

By June 1865 and with Myles Keogh still posted as his top aide, Stoneman was appointed commander of the Department of Tennessee and administered occupied Memphis. The Memphis riots broke out among the still rebellious citizens who were angry at the presence of black Federal soldiers in the military government. Stoneman was criticized for inaction and was investigated by a congressional committee, although he was exonerated after being equally censured and praised.

In 1866, Stoneman became opposed to the radical policies of Reconstruction and joined the Democratic Party. As he administered the military government in Petersburg, Virginia, he established a reputation of applying more moderate policies than some of the other military governors in Reconstruction thereby easing some of the reconciliation pain for Virginians. He was mustered out of the volunteer service in September 1866 and reverted to his regular army rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He took command of the Department of Arizona, First Military District, headquartered at Drum Barracks. He was a controversial commander in that role because of his dealings with Indian uprisings and he was relieved of his command in May 1871.

Stoneman moved to California, the place of which he had dreamed since his service as a young officer before the war. He and his wife settled in the San Gabriel Valley on a 400 acre estate called 'Los Robles' [The Oaks], which is now a state historical landmark.

In 1882, he was elected Governor of California and served a four-year term after serving as a Railroad Commissioner from 1876-78. In the election, Stoneman faced the Republican Morris M. Estee, an experienced California politician and Speaker of the Assembly. Stoneman campaigned hard throughout the state, hampered by his poor speech-making. His wife Mary, who called her husband "Stony," hated the rigors of campaigning. She once even wrote that seeing her husband in the political arena made her "sick." Stoneman won the race handily, capturing 40% of the total vote among four candidates. His administration was early on marked by the controversial issues of the state railroads, but he nevertheless established progressive programs in several arenas. Two new state hospitals were established in 1885, as well as a home for the blind. A Forestry Board, sorely needed, was established.

On July 17, 1885, a fire destroyed Stoneman's ranch home. The family wasn't home at the time, but Stoneman's papers, his Civil War mementos, and most personal possessions were lost. Stoneman's political supporters, as well as many newspapers, proclaimed the fire to have been set by the Governor's political enemies. Mary was devastated by the fire, and more so upon learning that her husband had let the insurance lapse so there was no recovery available. His party did not nominate Stoneman for re-election, as he faced strong opposition within his own party. Without the necessary political skill to build support, Stoneman was not even considered for a second term. In fact, at the convention, his record as governor was hardly even mentioned. In 1887 he asked for restoration to the military retirement list upon leaving office, which elicited negative comments since there was a perception that his ranch had made him a wealthy man, irrespective of losing his home.

Broken financially and in poor health, he traveled to New York City and there had surgery to alleviate his hemorrhoids, described by his sister as a “severe operation.” He stayed at her home in Albany to recuperate. On November 28, 1888, Stoneman left Albany and traveled to Buffalo NY, to visit another sister, Charlotte Williams. After more traveling to visit his children and other family, he died at Charlotte’s home in Buffalo on September 5, 1894, as a result of a stroke suffered in April. At the military funeral, all of his pall-bearers were civilians, and neither of his sons attended. He is buried in the very small Bentley Cemetery in Lakewood NY, not far from his Busti childhood home, in the Stoneman family plot. His simple tombstone reads: “George Stoneman – Chief of Cavalry, Army of the Potomac – Commander of Third Army Corps at Fredericksburg – Pensioner of Mexican and Civil Wars.”

Stoneman ended his life as a tragic figure, “broken in health and finances”, with a young wife whose behaviour scandalised him. In looking at the photographs of Stoneman, one cannot help but observe the difference between the look of fire in the young general’s eyes with the vacant, exhausted stare found in his twilight years. Destined never to achieve any brilliant success or to acquire legions of devotees across the generations, Stoneman nevertheless is a pivotal figure in the early years of the war, particularly in the development and organisation of the Union cavalry.

As the war progressed, he was tasked with some of the most difficult cavalry missions while suffering extreme hardship due to his medical problems. Through the many raids deep into enemy territory, including three months as a prisoner of war, Stoneman seems to have maintained a quiet dignity and, while not necessarily an inspirational leader of men, he was someone who gained the loyalty of his cavalry troops. As Lieutenant General John M. Schofield once wrote, George Stoneman was "a man with the highest sense of honor."

A bitter sweet New Year - January 1864

As 1863 came to an end, Myles Keogh must have still been mourning the loss of his beloved General John Buford. After accompanying Buford's remains by train to West Point Cemetery for burial on December 21, his thoughts would have turned to rejoining the First Cavalry Division, camped in Culpeper, Virginia. Now under the temporary command of Wesley Merritt, reports of the day highlighted the shock and depression that Buford's old command felt on hearing of his death:
"The men on picket mutter mournful ejaculations as they pass up and down their lonely walks by the red glare of the crackling campfire."
Around that time, however, news reached Keogh that his close friend and papal war comrade, Captain Joseph O'Keeffe (pictured left soon after his release), had been exchanged into a parole camp. O'Keeffe was shot from his horse and captured at the Battle of Brandy Station in June 0f '63 while in a charge alongside Merritt. There is no record of whether Myles knew of his friend's fate after this battle as official documents place O'Keeffe among the "missing" casualties.

Parole Camps

The half-way house that Joseph O'Keeffe now found himself residing in was called 'Camp Parole' and was located just outside Annapolis, Maryland. In the days of formal warfare, it was customary to exchange prisoners of war by a complex formula of numbers and relative rank. Often, to avoid being burdened with large parties of prisoners, forces in the field would "parole" them; that is, release them to go home on oath not to perform any military service until exchanged. Early in the American Civil War, it was discovered that many paroled men would disappear into the civilian population, not to be found when ready for exchange. So keeping them under military control until exchanged and returned to their units became imperative - hence the setting up of 'Parole Camps'.
The first camp of paroled soldiers in Annapolis was established in 1861 on the grounds of St. John’s College ("College Green") and was followed by two further camps, formed to cope with the expanding numbers of prisoners being received. Prisoners were brought up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis by the steamer, New York, in groups as large as 6,000. At this stage, the camps were merely tented villages but during the winter of 1862, the paroled soldiers suffered with the severe cold in their tents, and many became ill. It was clear that barracks would be needed for the following winter. 

On May 1, 1863, the Federal government signed a lease with Charles S. Welch and Ann Rebecca Welch, his wife, for the use of their 250-acre farm outside of Annapolis, at a rent of $125.00 per month. In September 1863, the Army completed 'Parole Barracks' — soon to revert to "Camp Parole." Located adjacent to the old Annapolis and Elkridge Railroad, this third Camp Parole easily received supplies by train at all times. The initial 60 barracks grew to a substantially larger number later and by mid-December 1863, 49 of the 83-authorized buildings were occupied. This final Camp Parole lasted until the end of the war.

Officer's Quarters at Camp Parole, Annapolis

It was to 'Camp Parole' in Annapolis that Joseph O'Keeffe was released by his Confederate captors and it was here that he would finally be reunited with a visiting Keogh, probably soon after Christmas Day. Life at the camp may have been frustrating for those itching to get back into field but reports from the enlisted men tell of swims in Chesapeake Bay, storytelling and smoking around large fires and of eating oysters close to the town. For the system of parole to work, both sides were conscious of the need to adhere to the terms of release. If soldiers on parole were found to be fighting without being officially released, their prisoner-of-war comrades behind enemy lines would remain strictly incarcerated.

Although Keogh and O'Keeffe were reacquainted at Annapolis, it would be at least another three months before they would again be serving together in the Union army. Joseph O'Keeffe had to wait until March before he was officially exchanged and freed to return to his new post as aide-de-camp to General William T. Sherman:

"Washington, D. C., March 8, 1864.
Major General B. F. BUTLER,
Commissioner for Exchange, Fort Monroe, Va.:
GENERAL: As the exchange of Captain Moody, directed in my letter of the 17th ultimo by authority of the Secretary of War, could not be effected, I have respectfully to request that he be exchanged for some other Federal officer of corresponding rank now on parole.
I would respectfully suggest Captain Joseph O'Keeffe, additional aide-de-camp to Major-General Sherman, who is anxious that he should join him.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Infantry
and Commissary-General of Prisoners."
For Keogh, January 1864 meant a return to First Division HQ but with the knowledge that an opportunity had now arisen for him to serve on the staff of his fourth general of the war...

Happy Christmas 2013

Wishing Everybody a Happy and Peaceful Christmas

This site is delighted to present the following seasonal article written by Damian Sheils, author of a wonderful blog on the role played by the Irish in the American Civil War.


Christmas with the Irish Brigade
‘Near one of the huge fires a kind of arbor was nicely constructed of the branches of trees, which were so interwoven on one another as to form a kind of wall. Inside this, some were seated on logs, some reclining in true Turkish style. Seated near the fire was Johnny Flaherty, discoursing sweet music from his violin. Johnny hailed from Boston; was a musical genius, in his way, and though only fourteen years of age, could play on the bagpipes, piano, and Heaven knows how many other instruments; beside him sat his father, fingering the chanters of a bagpipe in elegant style. It is no wonder that most of the regiment were gathered around there, for it was Christmas Eve, and home-thoughts and home-longings were crowding on them; and old scenes and fancies would arise with sad and loving memories, until the heart grew weary, and even the truest and tenderest longed for home associations this blessed Christmas Eve.’ (1)

Such was the scene at Camp California, Virginia for the 63rd, 69th and 88th New York on Christmas Eve 1861. This evocative account appears in David Power Conyngham’s 1867 history of the Brigade and its campaigns. It is interesting to note that he dedicates nearly seven pages to describing the Brigade’s activities that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; none of the subsequent years receive anything like the same attention. Writing retrospectively, Conyngham is aware of what awaited these men in the battles to come. It was to be their last ‘innocent’ Christmas, and many would not see another. The writer is clearly aware of this melancholy fact:
‘No wonder if, amidst such scenes, the soldier’s thought fled back to his home, to his loved wife, to the kisses of his darling child, to the fond Christmas greetings of his parents, brothers, sisters, friends, until his eyes were dimmed with the dews of the heart. The exile feels a longing desire, particularly at Christmas times, for the pleasant, genial firesides and loving hearts of home. How many of that group will, ere another Christmas comes round, sleep in a bloody and nameless grave! Generous and kind hands may smooth the dying soldier’s couch; or he may linger for days, tortured by thirst and pain, his festering wounds creeping with maggots, his tongue swollen, and a fierce fever festering up his body as he lies out on that dreary battle-field; or, perhaps, he has dragged himself beneath the shade of some pine to die by inches, where no eye but God’s and his pitying angels’ shall see him, where no human aid can succor him. Years afterwards, some wayfarer may discover a skeleton with the remains of a knapsack under the skull. This is too often the end of the soldier’s dreams of glory, and all “The pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war.” It is but a short transition from love, and hope, and life, to sorrow and death. Another Christmas, and many a New England cottage, and many a home along the Rhine and the Shannon, will be steeped in affliction for the loving friends who have laid their bones on the battle-fields of Virginia.’ (2)

1862 would bring hard fought battles and horrendous casualty lists for the Brigade on fields in the Peninsula, Antietam and Fredericksburg. But this was all ahead of the men in 1861, and for now they enjoyed the music that the O’Flaherty father and son shared around the campfire. Jigs, reels and doubles were danced, and stories were told. Songs such as ‘The girl I left behind me’, ‘Home, Sweet Home’, ‘The Rapparee’, ‘The Green above the Red’ and ‘Fontenoy’ were amongst the favourites as the drink flowed. A bell was sounded to bring the Irishmen to midnight mass, which was celebrated that year by Fathers Willet and Dillon. Log benches had been prepared in front of the chapel tents, and the responses were delivered by Quartermaster Haverty and Captain O’Sullivan. Another mass followed the next day, Christmas morning, and was this time said in the open air. Following this the Irish returned to their camp to celebrate the remainder of the 25th.
Christmas 1862 found the Irish Brigade in a very different situation. Although the number of Regiments had by this time increased with the addition of the 116th Pennsylvania and 28th Massachusetts, the slaughter at Antietam and Fredericksburg had impacted greatly on the amount of men present. The latter battle had been fought as recently as 13th December, and must have been fresh in the minds of many as they rested in winter quarters at Falmouth, Virginia. St. Clair A. Mulholland of the 116th described the scene amongst his regiment:
‘Christmas Day, 1862, was celebrated in the camp, many boxes of good things from home were received, and shared by the recipients with comrades less fortunate. Some of the boys were a little homesick, to be sure, but enough were sufficiently light of heart to drive dull care away. A large Christmas tree was erected in the centre of the camp, and peals of laughter and much merriment greeted the unique decorations, tin cups, hardtack, pieces of pork and other odd articles being hung on the branches. At night the camp fire roared and blazed, the stars shone above the tail pines, the canteen was passed around, and care banished for the hour. It must have been a sad Christmas, however, to those at home whose friends had fallen by Marye’s Heights and Hamilton’s Woods.’ (3)
Many of the men of the Irish Brigade wound endure two more Christmas’s of conflict. As each year passed, the numbers who had experienced the celebrations on that first Christmas at Camp California would grow ever smaller. Despite the constant hardships they faced, they always did their best to enjoy what represented an all too brief respite from the reality of war.
(1) Conyngham 1867: 77-78; (2) Ibid: 78-79; (3) Mulholland: 72

Conyngham, David Power 1867. The Irish Brigade and its Campaigns

The Death of General Buford

"Put guards on all the roads, and don't let the men run to the rear."

The final words of Major General John Buford Jnr.

On November 21 1863, Buford, accompanied by his free black servant, Edward, was transferred to Washington, D.C. However, at first Buford did not have a place to stay as his wife was visiting family in Illinois. His close friend and former cavalry commander, George Stoneman, immediately opened up his rented home on Pennsylvania Avenue to him.

Illustration of Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. circa 1860.

When Buford was feeling better, he happily, if somewhat feebly, received members of his command for short visits. Demand for Buford’s services also helped to rally him. Following the Chickamauga Campaign, the commander of the Army of the Cumberland, William Rosecrans, requested that Buford be transferred to Chattanooga to command the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. However, Rosecrans was replaced by General George H. Thomas soon after making the request, and nothing more was said about it during the Battles for Chattanooga. After the Chattanooga battles, William T. Sherman was in command of the western armies, and he asked that Buford be sent to him to take charge of the cavalry in the west. Reportedly, Buford was anxious to do so, provided he could bring some of his command from the east.

For a brief time, it appeared that Buford was recovering while under the care of Stoneman and an army surgeon, but the strain of the previous campaigns lowered his resistance to infection. Buford’s temperature reached 104 degrees, dysentery and other complications further weakened his body. Just before the middle of December, Buford’s health began to fail rapidly, and the news drew some of his friends to the Stoneman home. His wife was informed and left Illinois for Washington. In the last days, Buford was attended by his aide, Captain Myles Keogh, and by Edward, his servant. Also present were Lt. Col. A. J. Alexander and General Stoneman. His wife Pattie was travelling to him from Rock Island, Illinois, but would not arrive in time.

In his final hours, Buford finally received his much deserved promotion to the rank of Major-General. Renowned Civil War author, Eric J. Wittenberg, recorded that the promotion was instigated by a political patron of Buford's, Clement Barclay of Philadelphia, who went to visit Buford at his death bed. By this time, it was clear that the typhoid fever would be fatal. Barclay went to the White House, and called upon President Lincoln. Based on that visit, Lincoln sent a note to Stanton that read, "Gen. Buford will not survive the day. It suggests itself that he be promoted to major general." Stanton obeyed the request and issued orders that the promotion be given immediately. Early on December 16, 1863, Buford’s appointment to the rank of Major-General arrived from the White House. His rank was effective from July 1, 1863, the day he made his stand on the ridges near Gettysburg. Informed of the promotion by Myles Keogh, Buford inquired doubtfully, "Does he mean it?" When assured the promotion was genuine, he replied simply, "It is too late, now I wish I could live."

A.J. Alexander guided Buford's hand as the dying General signed the necessary paperwork and then Myles Keogh co-signed it as a witness. Soon after, Buford lapsed into delirium and died at 2:00 p.m., December 16, 1863, while Myles Keogh held him in his arms. His final reported words were " Put guards on all the roads, and don't let the men run to the rear."
One of Keogh’s cousins in America, Richard Kehoe, wrote home to Myles’ brother Tom on January 1st, 1864 –
[Myles]…”was greatly put about. He attended B. till the last died in his arms"
In Culpeper, Virginia, Buford’s “old ground” as he once called it, his men were aware within the day that their beloved commander had passed away. Abner Hard, Buford’s Surgeon-in-Chief, wrote:
“December 16th, a dispatch was received announcing the death of General Buford. The Division Staff at once proceeded to Washington to attend his funeral.”
An unnamed journalist described the grief and sadness felt by the soldiers in Buford's division:
"The men on picket mutter mournful ejaculations as they pass up and down their lonely walks by the red glare of the crackling campfire."
On December 20, a memorial service was held at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. (left). President Lincoln, who regularly attended service at this church, was among the mourners. Buford's wife, Pattie, was unable to attend due to illness. The pallbearers included Generals Casey, Heintzelman, Sickles, Schofield, Hancock, Doubleday, and Warren. General Stoneman commanded the escort in a procession that included "Grey Eagle," Buford's old white horse that he rode at Gettysburg.

After the service, Myles Keogh along with fellow staff captain, Craig Wadsworth, escorted Buford’s body to West Point, where it was buried alongside fellow Gettysburg hero Lt. Alonzo Cushing, who had died defending the "high ground" (Cemetery Ridge) that John Buford had chosen. In 1865, a large twenty-five foot obelisk style monument was erected over his grave financed by members of his old division.
No more to follow his daring form,
Or see him dash through the battle's storm,
No more with him to ride down the foe,
And behold his falchion's crushing blow,
Nor hear his voice, like a rushing blast,
As rider and steed went charging past,
... Buford is dead!
Philadelphia Inquirer, December 21, 1863
Martha (Pattie) McDowell Duke Buford not only endured the loss of her husband, which occurred just a few months after the deaths of her father and her only daughter, but also the death of her only son, James (still in his teens), in 1873, leaving her alone without husband or children. After John's death, she collected his pension of $1 a month and died in 1903, at the age of 73, having survived her husband by forty years.

The following resolutions of regret fully set forth the esteem in which General Buford was held by his command:
Resolutions of Regret
At a meeting of the officers composing the staff of the late Major General John Buford, it was resolved,

First. That we, the staff officers of the late Major General John Buford, fully appreciating his merits as a gentleman, soldier, commander, and patriot, conceive his death to be an irreparable loss to the cavalry arm of the service. That we have been deprived of a friend and leader whose sole ambition was our success, and whose chief pleasure was in administering to the welfare, safety and happiness of the officers and men of his command.

Second. That we deeply sympathise with his bereaved family, and tender them our heartfelt appreciation of his merits, in this, their hour of affliction. That we look upon his character as a model of high integrity and modesty, united with the sympathies of a heart alive to every tender emotion, as well as indifference to personal inconvenience and danger. That to his unwearied exertions in the many responsible positions which he has occupied, the service at large is indebted for much of its efficiency, and in his death the cavalry has lost a firm friend and most ardent advocate. That we are called to mourn the loss of one who was ever to us as the kindest and tenderest father, and that our fondest desire and wish will ever be to perpetuate his memory and emulate his greatness.

Third. That the division staff of the First Cavalry Division, Army of Potomac, wear the badge of mourning for thirty days. That these resolutions be published in various papers, and a copy presented to Mrs. John Buford.

Fourth. That these resolutions be submitted to the officers of the First Cavalry Division for approval.

T. C. Bacon, Captain and A.A.G.
M. W. Keogh, Captain and A.D.C.
Craig W. Wadsworth, Captain and A.D.C.
A. P. Morrow, Lieutenant and A.D.C.
A. Hard, Surgeon-in-Chief
II. Winsor, jr., Captain and A.A.I.G.
M. F. Hale, Captain and C.S.
J. II. Tallman, Captain and A.Q.M
A. B. Jerome, Lieutenant and Signal Officer
J. M. Kennedy, Captain and A.C.M.
E. E. Dana, Lieutenant and Ambulance Officer
J. K. Malone, Lieutenant and Ordnance Officer
G. M. Gilchrist, Lieutenant and Provost Marshal
Upon his return to the Division, Buford's protégé and now Acting Commander of the First Cavalry Division, General Wesley Merritt, issued the following general order :
Headquarters First Cavalry Division, Culpepper, Virginia, December 22d, I860.
General Orders.
Soldiers of the First Cavalry Division,
We have lost our chief. Our gallant leader, our heroic General, our kind and sympathising friend has been taken from us by the afflicting hand of Divine Providence. We bow submissive to the dispensation, but we mourn, as mortals must, our irreparable loss. It is not for me to relate his virtues. Not a soldier in this command need be told of his qualities. You know his gallantry and chivalric nature. Gettysburg attests his glory. Beverly Ford and the scenes around you here bear witness to his never-dying fame.
You need not be reminded of his goodness of heart, his sympathetic nature, his high, sensitive, noble feeling ; they were all exhibited in the kind tenderness he has always shown for our sick and wounded comrades, and the solicitude for the safety of each man in his command. His master mind and incomparable genius as a cavalry chief, you all know by the dangers through which he has brought you, when enemies surrounded you and destruction seemed inevitable. The dying words of your wounded comrade, "I’m glad it isn’t the General", bear testimony to your unutterable love.
But now, alas ! "It is the General!" "He has fought his last fight !" No more forever will you see his proud form leading you on to victory. The profound anguish which we all feel forbids the use of empty words, which so feebly express his virtues. Let us silently mingle our tears with those of the nation in lamenting the untimely death of this pure and noble man, the devoted and patriotic lover of his country, the soldier without fear and without reproach.

W. Merritt
Brigadier General of Volunteers,
Myles Keogh was devastated by Buford’s passing. He had stayed loyal to the General since his appointment to the cavalry divisional staff and this loyalty was often rewarded in praise and trust. The day after Gettysburg, Buford allowed Myles leave to travel to Washington in search of his two cousins who had recently arrived from Ireland. Dan Keogh O'Sullivan, one of those cousins, probably best summed up the relationship between Keogh and Buford when he wrote home in January 27, 1864:
"Poor Myles. If the General had lived Myles always had a sincere friend"

"Rotten Hoof" and the Dismounted Camp.

In October 1863, the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac were severely hindered, not by JEB Stuart's men, but by a disease that afflicted a large portion of their horses. Dubbed "Rotten Hoof" by some officers, it drove most of the key cavalry commanders to write to HQ in Washington regarding the poor condition of their horses.

On October 25, Judson Kilpatrick (left), Brigadier General of Vols., Commanding Third Division, wrote:
"The men had their arms and equipments and were in every way ready for duty, but their horses, having been affected with the hoof disease and swelled tongue, were totally unserviceable. This disease made its appearance for the first time in my command on the morning of the 20th, and I have now over 200 horses rendered unserviceable from its effects."
Myles Keogh's First Division were similarly afflicted as General Buford reported on October 24:
"I have the honor to report that I have equipped and available for duty 2,000 men and horses. One-half of these, in my opinion, are not fit for arduous duty, being poor in flesh and leg-weary. It is impossible to ascertain the number of diseased horses, for the disease is on the increase daily, and to feed them here with grain alone is impossible with my present means of transportation...The Third Brigade, which crossed at Germanna Mills with 1,488 men to-day, can only turn out 850 men mounted."
The implications of such a virulent disease among the cavalry equine stock were obvious. Aside from hundreds of dismounted, inactive troops, Pleasonton made a very keen military observation when he wrote --
"In such service as the troops are called upon to perform in a raid or in covering a retreat, every man who is dismounted by his horse giving out falls into the hands of the enemy and swells the list of our losses."
As an indication of the high rate of attrition among mounts in the Federal cavalry, Major General George Stoneman, Chief of Cavalry in the Union Army, reported that in October 1863 alone, 7,036 horses were issued to the thirty-six regiments of the Army of the Potomac. Astonishingly, Stoneman continued in his summation that:
"At the rate horses are used up in that army, it would require 435,000 [horses] per year to keep the cavalry in the army up, and then, according to the inclosed papers, that would be inefficient."

While the diseased horses were unfit for service, their cavalrymen also found themselves unavailable for active service. The solution, devised by Washington, added another phrase to the vocabulary of the Federal horse-soldier -- 'The Dismounted Camp'. Around October of '63, the Dismounted Camp for the Army of the Potomac cavalry was at or near Washington. The attraction of weeks off the front line in the capital city was obvious - the licentious soldiery let loose in Washington with nothing to do but enjoy themselves. Certainly, some of the commanding officers felt this was the case:
"Within the last three days I have been obliged to send into the Dismounted Camp 265 men and horses...Many accounted for as missing are known to be stragglers, and are now at the Dismounted Camp. The men of my command have learned to appreciate the easy life offered them at the Dismounted Camp, and take every opportunity to get there. They neglect their horses, lose their equipments, knowing in either case that they will be sent in to refit."
Brigadier General J. Kilpatrick

"I would earnestly request that hereafter all the dismounted men may be retained in their commands and not to be allowed to go to the Dismounted Camp at Washington, but that the dismounted men be remounted in the field. The sending of dismounted men to the Dismounted Camp at Washington has a very demoralizing influence over the men, and also destroys the discipline of the men."
Major General A. Pleasonton

Most tellingly was the opinion of the Commander of the Army of the Potomac, Major General George Meade:
"I concur with the commander of the Cavalry Corps in the opinion that the practice of sending the dismounted men to the camp at Washington to be refitted has a most injurious and demoralizing effect upon the service, and I earnestly request that it be discontinued."

One solution proposed by Alfred Pleasonton (above), Major-General, Commanding Cavalry Corps was the transfer of responsibility for these 'half-way houses' from Washington to his own personal command:
"I would therefore respectfully suggest that the entire business of fitting out the cavalry of this army be placed under the orders and control of the commanding general; that depots be established (within the actual limits of the army where practicable) where men who have lost horses or equipments can be rapidly re-equipped for the field instead of, as at present, lying sometimes for months together in a Dismounted Camp over which he has no control, where it is reputed there is no discipline or order, and which both officers and soldiers have learned to look to as a comfortable escape from the performance of duty in the field."
But the humorous part of the tale comes from George Stoneman's reply to Pleasonton, on behalf of Washington HQ. Stoneman is of the opinion that Pleasonton may be using this opportunity to do a bit of empire building and retorts, with no small amount of sarcasm:
"General Pleasonton's opinions in regard to the discipline of the Dismounted Camp, and also in regard to the quality of the horses issued by the Cavalry Bureau, might possibly have more weight had they been founded in either case upon personal observation and inspection. The plan he proposes of having his own depots under his own supervision and within the actual limits of the army necessarily indicates that he contemplates that in future the Army of the Potomac shall remain stationary to protect them from Stuart, or that his depots shall be of a portable character and capable of being transported and taken with the army in its various and uncertain movements."
Also included in this retort, issued from the Office of the Cavalry Bureau, Washington, D. C., November 12, 1863, Stoneman offers a suggestion to combat the equine disease:
"One remedy, and that used at the depot with success, is the chloride of antimony for sore feet, and a decoction of white-oak bark for the mouth; another is borax and alum, half and half, pulverized and mixed with sweet oil, and applied with a swab to the tongue, and still another is common salt (chloride of sodium) crisped on a hot shovel and applied to the feet and mouth. A good prevention is to give horses as much salt as they will eat."
There appears to have been little further in the way of correspondence of the matter of "rotten hoof" and "the dismounted camp" from this point on. Whether it was Stoneman's suggested remedy or his cutting dismissal of Pleasonton's "offer" that made these matters less of a priority is unclear. Certainly, Buford's cavalry, Keogh included, were occupied by an ongoing series of engagements with the enemy from September to November of 1863 and fought with admirable tenacity...

The Bristoe Campaign and Buford's failing health

In the final months of John Buford's leadership and, indeed, his life, the First Division of the Union cavalry, Army of the Potomac, were carrying out Major-General Meade's September 15th order by picketing the front and guarding the flanks of their army. The activities of Lee's and Meade's armies during the months of October and November 1863 -- a series of inconclusive battles fought in Virginia -- were called The Bristoe Campaign.

Following Gettysburg, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade began a maneuver in an attempt to inflict further defeat on Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Lee countered with a turning movement, which caused Meade to withdraw his army back toward Centreville. Lee struck at Bristoe Station on October 14, but suffered losses in two brigades and withdrew. As Meade followed south once again, the Union army smashed a Confederate defensive bridgehead at Rappahannock Station on November 7 and drove Lee back across the Rapidan River. Along with the infantry battles, the cavalry forces of the armies fought at Auburn on October 13, again at Auburn on October 14, and at Buckland Mills on October 19.

From Buford's Etat de Service, which was written in February of 1866 by his former Aide-de-Camp, Myles Keogh, we get an indication of where Buford (left) and, most likely, Keogh were during this campaign. Certainly, we can form an image in our mind as to John Buford's appearance at this time from the letters of Theodore Lyman, a staff member in Meade's Headquarters:
"September 21st 1863 - Yesterday came General Buford, commander of the Second [sic - should be 1st] Cavalry Division, and held a pow-wow. He is one of the best officers of that arm and is a singular looking party. Figurez-vous a compactly built man of middle height, with a tawny moustache and a little, triangular gray eye, whose expression is determined, not to say sinister. His ancient corduroys are tucked into a pair of ordinary cowhide boots, and his blue blouse is ornamented with holes; from one pocket thereof peeps a huge pipe while the other is fat with a tobacco pouch. Notwithstanding this get-up he is a very soldierly looking man. He is of a good natured disposition, but not to be trifled with."
According to the Etat de Service, in September Buford's command crossed the Rapidan River in advance of the Army of the Potomac but "was recalled after having crossed & charged at the ford capturing numbers of prisoners". This is probably a reference to events on October 10th, when General Buford and most of his Division crossed the Rappahannock river at Morton's and Raccoon Fords. On a separate but interconnecting path was the rest of his Division – the First Brigade – who were to make a junction with him on the other side. At one of these crossings, the Eighth New York dashed across, surprised and captured about fifty prisoners in the rifle-pits before they could get back to their horses. Pressing on, the horses were also taken.

Keogh then refers to later that day when Buford and his section of the Division became separated from the rest of his command -- "he was almost overpowered left alone with his Brigades to resist all the Enemy's Cav." When the First Brigade marched up the river to Morton's Ford later that day, they failed to connect with the General or his command. One of Buford’s surgeons, Abner Hard, wrote how “during the night aids and orderlies were running hither and thither hunting for General Buford, with orders for him to fall back.

Wherever Buford, Keogh and the cavalry were that evening, the next day they had to fight tenaciously to reconnect with the rest of the army. With most of the Union cavalry and infantry ordered to fall back due to Rebel pressure, Keogh wrote how Buford "cut his way back across the Rappahannock". Early on the morning of October 11, the Rebel infantry attacked General Buford, whose command had begun to re-cross the river. It was a difficult ford, but the crossing was safely accomplished by putting artillery in position to cover the retreat. The Ninth New York and Twelfth Illinois made a charge and held the enemy at a respectful distance.

Scarcely had Buford made it across, when the Rebel cavalry was discovered crossing at another ford above their position. Buford's Eighth Illinois dismounted and went out to meet them, but the Confederate cavalry -- the Fourth Virginia Cavalry in the vanguard -- advanced with great boldness due to their superior numbers. The Union cavalry held their fire until the head of the Rebel column was almost upon them before unleashing a deadly volley that ended the charge. Among those killed was the Colonel of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry whose men called to him to come back, but it was too late. The Confederate artillery then began to fire their lethal canister shot and Rebel infantry advanced again in overpowering numbers, causing Buford's men to retire. They fell back slowly past Stevensburg, keeping the enemy at bay all the way to Rappahannock Station -- a distance of about twenty-two miles. Before reaching the latter place their ammunition gave out and the men were obliged to receive the fire of the rebel infantry without being able to reply.

After the wounded were sent to Washington by rail, Buford again crossed the Rappahannock and advanced toward Culpeper, this time supported by a force of infantry, and going over the very ground he fought over the day before. The Rebels were now forced back to near Culpeper, but their infantry came up once more in heavy force, causing Buford, Keogh and the cavalry to retire to Brandy Station. Abner Hard reported that they arrived "after dark and went into camp without rations or forage." About midnight, orders came for Buford to move at once and re-cross the Rappahannock as Lee's army was reported to be flanking Meade's and moving on Washington –- Buford’s cavalry were to be rear-guard again. However, this order for the cavalry to advance was a ruse, made only to deceive the enemy and cover the retreat of the Union infantry. Keogh makes reference to this in the Etat de Service when he wrote "covered Meade's retreat to Bull Run."

On October 13, while camped at Warrenton Junction, Buford's First Division were entrusted with the protection of almost the entire supply train of the Army of the Potomac -- approximately seven thousand wagons in size. Keogh refers to it as "saved the whole transportation of the Army" but, in truth, the task required the virtue of patience rather than bravery. While the army was fighting at Bristoe station, the cavalry were nursing the vast wagon train towards Alexandria. Some of the men referred to it as an "anaconda" that took half a day to uncoil itself for the journey to its destination. There was always the threat of JEB Stuart's men attacking the transport but this did not occur until near Bull Run where the Union cavalry held their mounted foe at bay until the wagons were safely encamped at Fairfax station.

Continuing Buford's service history and using one of his trademark alliterations -- "shattered and scattered" -- Keogh next writes that Buford:
"Fought his way with two Brigades to join the Army at Kelly's Ford or Rappahannock Station & was successful,...covering the retreat of Gen'l Kilpatrick's shattered & scattered forces at Brandy Station."
The reference to rescuing the troops of General Judson Kilpatrick refers to the battle at Buckland Mills on October 19 -- an affair that came to be known as the "Buckland Races". After defeat at Bristoe Station on October 14 and an aborted advance on Centreville, Stuart's cavalry shielded the withdrawal of Lee's army from the vicinity of Manassas Junction. Union cavalry under Kilpatrick pursued Stuart's cavalry along the Warrenton Turnpike but were lured into an ambush near Chestnut Hill and routed. The Federal troopers were scattered and apparently chased for five miles.

It was around this date that Buford had begun to show signs of fatigue and illness. Theodore Lyman (right) in Meade's HQ wrote on October 19th:
"General Buford came in today, cold and tired and wet; “Oh!” he said to me, “do you know what I would do if I were a volunteer aide? I would just run home as a fast as I could, and never come back again!” The General takes his hardships good-naturedly."
Nonetheless, he was still on duty and his troops, Keogh included, were still in an ongoing sequence of skirmishes with the enemy. One of Keogh's reports also exists from this time and is a reference to the activities of Devin's Brigade:
OCTOBER 24, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel C. ROSS SMITH:
Report from the cavalry advance toward Bealeton Station:
Colonel Devin's brigade, of the First Division, encamped last night at Liberty, pushing one regiment as far as Bealeton Station. This morning Colonel Devin sent two regiments to drive the enemy's pickets toward or across the river at Rappahannock Station, in order to establish his line at that point. Colonel Devin's men succeeded in driving the enemy from the woods a mile on this side of the river, and close on to the works over the burned bridge, where the enemy had their infantry in line, and from whence they immediately pushed forward about 3,000 men with a force of cavalry, the infantry moving on the north and the cavalry on the south side. Colonel Devin fell back, being closely followed by the enemy's infantry, as far as Liberty, when the enemy halted, and in a short time fell back, followed by our forces, toward Bealeton. Colonel Devin did not engage the enemy, merely observing his movements, losing only 1 man killed and a few wounded.
Colonel Devin expects to have his brigade advance by sunset close to Bealeton, as the last reports from his advance guard say: The enemy seem to be retiring to their previous position in the works at Rappahannock Bridge. Colonel Gregg reports to have learned from a prisoner, or deserter, that Ewell's corps occupy the works at the bridge, two divisions being on this side. Both of our cavalry brigade commanders agree in saying that there is at least one division of rebel infantry on this side.
A locomotive was heard to approach the bridge last night from Culpeper.
Respectfully forwarded.
Captain, and Aide-de-Camp.
We get an idea of the point where Buford's health deteriorated and he was no longer able to command when Abner Hard, of Buford's medical staff, noted:
"We remained in camp near Culpepper, doing picket duty, without anything of note transpiring until November 21st, when General Buford became so ill it was thought best to send him to Washington."
Myles Keogh simply wrote Buford..."was taken ill from fatigue & extreme hardship." Keogh accompanied his General to Washington where he was to rest and recuperate at the home of his friend and fellow Union general, George Stoneman. It was to be John Buford's final journey...

"...and the goose hangs high" - The Spy Hanging Incident

'Life of a Spy - In Nine Tableaux' - Thomas Nast Civil War illustration, Harper's Weekly 1863

One incident in Buford's Gettysburg campaign that is often mentioned is the hanging of a man, reputed to be a Confederate spy, on his orders. Some report the spy being hung before the battle of Gettysburg, naming the executed man as Will Talbot.
Apparently upon reaching Frederick in Maryland, Buford's provost marshal, Lt. Mix, caught a spy named Will Talbot, who admitted he was a member of Confederate Elijah White's Comanches, and Buford had him summarily tried and hung - an act that prompted an outraged populace to declare him a "Northern Brute." Buford had a note pinned to the body announcing that the corpse was to hang three days and that anyone cutting him down early would hang the remainder. Unless Buford ordered two separate hangings, before and after Gettysburg, evidence from the letters of Union soldiers indicate that, while Buford did indeed order the execution of a Confederate spy, he did so soon after the battle - on July 5th.

That spy was actually an older man about sixty, named William Richardson, who was well known to Union troopers from the Maryland campaign the previous year when he had been a regular visitor to Union camps while peddling a variety of songbooks.

"It had rained very hard and the roads were muddy, but we reached Frederick City at noon the next day -5th July…
Our troops camped in a field about a mile out of town, on the Boonsboro road. General Buford had been greatly annoyed by what he supposed to be spies, or persons who had been allowed to enter camp under various pretexts. Some he had arrested and sent to headquarters, who were there released. He declared if he caught another he would “hang him and not send him up to be promoted to a Brigadier-General."

This afternoon a man by the name of Richardson, who professed to reside in Baltimore, and who was distributing religious tracts, came into camp and was suspected of being a spy, as he had been seen hanging around camp at other times and places. Provost Marshal Mix arrested him, and on his person found letters from rebel Generals vouching for him, and recommending other rebels to place implicit reliance on the information he might give : also passes from both Federal and Confederate Generals. He confessed to having just come from the rebel lines, but said he had been to visit his three sons, who were in the Confederate service. General Buford carefully examined the papers, and then said "hang him." No further trial was had.

A few moments were given him to prepare to die, in which he tried to make his escape, but was recaptured. A rope was placed around his neck, one end thrown over the limb of a tree, and three soldiers drew him, fastened the rope and left him dangling in the air."
Abner N. Hard - History of the Eighth Cavalry Regiment, Illinois Volunteers
On its march northward, much of the Army of the Potomac would pass by the hanging Richardson, who was as much of a message evidencing Buford's viciousness in dealing with spies as it was vignette of the dark reality of war to the marching blue army behind him. This was not the last spy that Buford would execute and Colonel Lyman was right in describing him as a man "not to be trifled with." - a fact highlighted by the note Buford had attached to the corpse:
"On the 8th they moved to Frederick...One of the first sights that greeted the Provost Guard, as they were pitching camp, was the body of Richardson the spy hanging from the limb of a tree close by. Pinned to his breast was a placard with this inscription:
"Tried, convicted and hung as a spy.
Any one cutting down this body without orders will take his place.
By order of Major-General John Buford,
Commanding Cavalry"

From the letters of Captain Robert Goldthwaite Carter
"On the 8th we passed through Frederick...On the way we passed by a tree from which was hanging by the neck a Rebel spy. He was caught in Buford's cavalry camp, getting information that would enable him to lead a Rebel force to capture our supply train. Abundant evidence of his guilt was found upon him, and he was promptly executed. His body had been hanging for three days and was enormously bloated, his face presenting a horrid appearance. Our boys, nevertheless, identified him as the fellow that visited our camp at Bolivar as a peddler selling song books, and they were so elated to know that he had at last been detected and his treacherous career brought to an end, that they broke forth singing as we marched by, "And everything is lovely and the goose hangs high.""
From '137th Regiment Infantry- Historical Sketch by Surgeon John M. Farrington'

When Buford, frustrated at increased presence of spies in the Union camps, declared if he caught another he would “hang him and not send him up to be promoted to a Brigadier-General", it may have been a reference to the June 28th orders that had promoted the trio of 'Boy Generals' - Custer, Farnsworth and Merritt. If stated, this is unlikely to have been made in a spiteful or jealous manner as Buford was a known admirer of his protégé, Wesley Merritt. Moreover, it could have been uttered in annoyance at the release of some suspected spies he had captured and sent for justice to headquarters.