shari - Buford- how far from the first shot marker at Gettysburg, to the 26th PA Emergency Infantry? I'm not sure where that one is located...
Buford - Shari, it's at the angle where Route 30 veers to the left to head into the town square. It's a black monument that sits on an island in the middle of the street.
Aldie - Wait a dog gone minute! Route 30 comes in from the North East and Joins the Chambersburg Pike two blocks east of town.
Buford - It's two or three blocks west of the 7-11, Aldie.
Aldie - I thought those were more like the Pennsylvania Reserves.
shotgun - Doing well my friend, doing well. Now that we have the expert in Union Cavalry operations (and mayhap just a little CSA) with us, Buford by name, why don't you folks fire some questions his way. By the way, welcome back my friend
shari - I really don't blame them, Buford. Being faced with a superior (mainly in the form of experienced) group, and them fresh off the farms...
Buford - Indeed, Shari. I am pretty sure that I would have done the same.
shari - I'm reading the latest edition of the Blue and the Gray...On Gettysburg the 1st Day...I did not know that the CSA took civilian hostages....That was pretty interesting to me. Can anyone tell me the exact purpose of this?
Buford - Sure, Shari. It was a means of preventing retribution on the Confederates for taking goods, etc.
shotgun - OK Elly, since no one else will and we have the foremost expert on the topic, lets let Buford give us a brief overview of John Burford's indepth defense of Gettysburg on the first day. What say you Buford. Take a moment and explain, as I know you can, Gen'l Buford's movement from ridge to ridge. Bear in mind my friends it is far more exciting when you are there listening to him!!
Buford - Sure, I can do that, Shotgun. The concept is called a "defense in depth". The theory behind a defense in depth is for the defending force to select a position far from the point that it ultimately wants to defend, so that there is a place to fall back to. A delaying action is fought, with the idea of slowly making a fighting withdrawal. The defending force makes use of the terrain to delay the enemy's advance.
Buford - Buford recognized the good high ground to the south and east of the town square and elected to fight a defense in depth to hold it until the infantry could come up. Buford had consulting with Reynolds in Emmitsburg on the way to Gettysburg on June 30, and knew how close the infantry was. He would defend the town from the west and north. Gamble on the west side, and Devin on the north.
shotgun - Folks, not to worry about a late post. Be with Buford a long time and he is just typing. You gonna love this!!
Buford - Buford set up his videttes on an arc seven miles long. Gamble's farthest post was four miles from the town square, Devin's six. The idea of videttes is to serve as an early warning system. They make contact with the enemy, fire warning shots, delay as long a possible, and then fall back to the next chosen defensive position.
Buford - Gamble covered an arc from the Fairfield Road to the Mummasburg Road. Devin covered the Carlisle, Harrisburg and York Roads. The next fall back position from the west was Herr's Ridge (which combines with Belmont School House Ridge), and then finally, the main line of battle was atop McPherson Ridge.
Buford - The vidette line of Gamble's brigade was manned by about 275 men. The farthest post was atop Knoxlyn Ridge at the Whisler blacksmith shop. Vidette posts were typically manned by three or four men, and commanded by a non-com. This particular one was commanded by Sgt. Levi Shaffer of the 8th Illinois Cavalry.
Buford - Lt. Marcellus Jones of the 8th Illinois commanded the regiment's vidette line. Early on the morning of July 1, Sgt. Shaffer spotted billowing clouds of dust arising along the Chambersburg Pike, indicating the movement of a large body of men. Shaffer called for Jones. Jones watched for a moment, borrowed Shaffer's Sharps carbine, rested it on a fence post, and squeezed off the first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg. Fired at a range of about 700 yards, it hit nothing. Instead, it sent up the alarm among Heth's advancing infantry. Soon, more shots rang out along the vidette line. It was about 6 a.m.
shotgun - Hi Jinny, as I told folks earlier, we're on a roll here with the formost expert on Union Cavalry and you really don't want to miss this beauty!!
Buford - Word was sent back to Buford to let him know that the Confederates had begun to advance. While he sent for Calef's artillery, the surpised Confederates stopped and began to deploy into line of battle, a process that took nearly two full hours. Just by firing a few shots that hit nothing, Buford bought two hours' time. IN the meantime, Buford sent messengers to Reynolds to try to hurry the infantry to Gettysburg.
shotgun - Even'n all. Just as way of an announcement, Buford is on a roll You gotta love this stuff!!
Buford - In the meantime, the videttes fell back to Herr's Ridge. There, along with about 500 others of Gamble's brigade (total strength, about 750), they made a stand for the better part of an hour. Remember, too, that effective strength had to be reduced by 25% due to the fact that one in every four men was given task of holding horses. So, the actual strength was about 450. They stood there for about 45 minutes.
Addison Hart - Gamble took a wound on Herr's Ridge, did he not?
AoT - Buford, I think now might be a good time for a question--- if I may? What effect would just one regiment of confederate cavalry have had on this defense in depth?
Buford - In the meantime, Calef's three sections of artillery deployed along McPherson's Ridge. Two sections (4 guns) deployed on the Chambersburg Pike and the other two about four hundred yards away, near the spot where Reynolds fell. The idea was to disperse the guns to create the illusion that Buford actually had more than 6 pieces of artillery at his disposal.
Buford - I am not sure if there would have been any, AoT. One regiment would not have been enough to break it up. All it would have done is to let the Confederates know that there was a significant force in their front.
Buford - No, he didn't, Addison Hart. His serious wound was on the Peninsula, June '62.
Addison Hart - What is the general impression on Alfred Pleasonton, good officer or inept?
Buford - The Confederates, after driving Gamble off Herr's Ridge, then got caught in the valley created by Willoughby Run. They came under heavy fire there, and it took time for them to regroup and begin to advance up the western slope of McPherson's Ridge. By this time, it was nearly 9:15. Buford had already bought more than three hours' time by his stand. However, he grew worried, as there was still no sign of the advance of Reynolds' infantry. He went up the cupola of the Seminary to search for the head of Reynolds' column, worried--he realized that it was just a matter of time before he had to pull back or he ran out of ammo.
Buford - Addison Hart, I have written a bit about the man and his performance at Gettysburg.
Addison Hart - Woah, Buford. I didn't know who I was talking to.
Buford - As McPherson's Ridge was the chosen spot for the defensive stand, Buford deployed all of Gamble's brigade there, as well as a regiment of Devin's, positioned to the north of the railroad cut. There, they stood for about an hour before the Confederates began pressing them back, both by flanking the position and because Gamble's men were running out of ammunition.
BaylorDan - If Buford has written a book, I want it!
Addison Hart - So do I, BD!
Iron Pen - BaylorDan, it's called Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions.
Buford - Don't sweat it, Addison Hart. We haven't spoken before, and I haven't been around here much lately. Lots going on in my life, including trying to get a book manuscript finished.
BaylorDan - Where may we get it?
Addison Hart - Is your book at Amazon?
BaylorDan - What is Buford's real name?
Buford - As things looked most desperate, Buford's signal officer, Lt. Aaron B. Jerome, spotted the advance of REynolds' column, and reported it to Buford. Buford ascended the cupola again, saw it himself, and said, "Good, now we can hold the place." He sent a messenger to Reynolds, who spurred ahead to meet with Buford. Reynolds called out, "What goes, John?" Buford characteristically replied, "The Devil's to pay!" and pointed out the advancing Confederate infantry. REynolds then asked whether Buford could hold, to which the cavalryman responded, "I reckon so." Buford then came down, and he and Reynolds conferred and rode out to the front to see the situation.
shotgun - My friends, for those of you that don't know, and I really don't want to interrupt the discussion, you are looking at probably one of the world's best experts on Union Cavalry. And yes he is a noted author. I will let him explain later but for now, lets see how John Buford did at the 'Burg!
Buford - Reynolds then sent his staff officer, Capt. Stephen Minot Weld, to Meade with a sitrep, wherein REynolds said, "Tell the General that we will hold the heights to the south of the town, and that I will barricade the streets of the town if necessary." Weld rode off to report. In the meantime, Reynolds gave orders for his infantry, led by Doubleday's division, to come up at the double-quick, which they did, advancing across the fields on the oblique.
Buford - As Gamble's men were running out of ammunition, the infantry came up, and Gamble's tired troopers opened ranks to make room for them to come into line. After being relieved, Gamble's troopers took up a position on the Union left. The men of the 3rd Indiana CAvalry refused to leave the line of battle, holding a position next to the Iron Brigade.
Addison Hart - Reynolds was an interesting man. I believe he would have made an excellent AoP commander. But then he rode to his men in the grove crying: "Forward for God's sake, Forward!" and had his head shot in.
Buford - In the meantime, Joe Davis was pressing Devin back. Since Devin had only a regiment and a half atop the ridge, their position was more desperate. Reynolds responded by calling up John Robinson's division, which arrived just in the nick of time, just before Devin's guys ran out of ammunition.
shotgun - Buford, if you can, just give me a closing paragraph. I dearly want to put this on the website. Author unknown if you like. But bearing in mind that ole Shotgun's site is one of the most visited on the Internet you might want your own name up there. Not a problem with me either way
newyawk - Addison you can't believe that that is what Reynold's said on July 1st. It was only a movie....
AoT - Buford much has been made of the delaying action to the west of Gettysburg ,,, obviously some questions can be asked about the aggresiveness of Heth and I suppose Archer's brigade but what occurred to the North? Rodes division what brigade led his advnce?
Buford - By conducting this defense in depth, Buford bought 4 hours for Reynolds to arrive. Likewise, Devin bought quite a bit of time on the northern end of the line by using similar tactics until Howard and the 11th Corps arrived at about 11 a.m.
Buford - This is a perfectly planned and perfectly executed defense in depth, executed with perfect dragoon tactics. IF one reads the manual for this sort of thing, what Buford did was by the letter of the book. BRB...I need to reboot.
shotgun - Just a super explaination Buford!!! I have tried many times in here to expalain just what Buford did but alas I think to no avail. I think you have covered it in a dandy fashion.
shotgun - By the way Buford, would you mind if I put this on my website? Of course I will not put your real name there without permission. By the way folks, are you just a bit courious as to who Buford really is??
Addison Hart - Shotgun, I've discovered Buford's secret...
Buford - It was certainly the most effective one conducted, Shari. It was not the last. There was at least one other COld Harbor in June 1864.
Buford - Glad to hear that you enjoyed it, NY, and I am even more happy to hear that it helped with your interpretation.
shotgun - Congrats to those that know who he is. A finer Civil War historian cannot be found. My only problem is that when you tour a battlefield with him you had best be prepared to go into the great unknown. This guy knows every briar patch that there is at Gettysburg :-)
newyawk - LOL shotgun, I have heard about his tours, wish I could have made it to one
Addison Hart - Buford, how much of an interest do you have in Elon J. Farnsworth's final charge?
Rockeur - Shotgun what about us who DON"T know Buford's real identity? Can we get a clue?
shari - Yep, shotgun, you couldn't be more correct!
Coy - oh no, somebody asked Buford about Elon Farnsworth. :)
shotgun - Addison, great question and I'll bet you that Buford has a great answer. That is one of his babies.
Buford - Well, Addison, a bit. Enough to have written a book about it, anyway.
Buford - Shari, Fitz Lee also fought a good one at Todd's Tavern during The Wilderness. I forgot about that.
Coy - It is actually about the 1st Vermont Cavalry....but Farnsworth had a role. How you doing Buford? :)
shotgun - Heck Buford, you might just as well be a little self serving and tell them about your book. Not to mention the up coming biography of John
Addison Hart - Buford, what's your impression on Pleasonton was he as inept as several historians say he is?
shari - Cool, Buford, I just got a book on the Wilderness...maybe I'll see something about that in it.
Buford - Not bad, Coy. Kind of worn out, but not bad. Shotgun, you know I don't like to toot my own horn. Not my style.
shotgun - I hear that Buford, but if you don't mayhap it don't get tooted
Buford - Pleasonton was a terrific administrator, and a decent strategist. His greatest gift was in choosing aggressive young leaders to assume subodrinate command positions. The downside was also major. He was vainglorious and known as a brown noser. He also was terribly xenophobic, which is not an attractive trait. My biggest problem with him is that he was not a "lead from the front" kind of guy. In that age, that wasn't a good trait. At the same time, Pleasonton deserves a great deal of credit for making the AoP's Cavalry Corps into the fighting force that dominated the Eastern Theatre in the last year of the war.
Buford - Shari, the Todd's Tavern fight occurred on May 7, after the battle ended.
Addison Hart - Thanks, Buford.
Buford - No problem, Addison.
Buford - Get Gordon Rhea's first one, Shari. He covers it in there.
Buford - Happy to help, Shari. If you haven't read any of Gordon's work, it's terrific.
Coy - hmmmm. on Amazon you can pre-order "Under Custer's Command : The Civil War Journal of James Henry"
Buford - Really? I didn't know that, Coy. We just placed the maps this morning.
Coy - I just looked....says will be out in November.
Buford - So I am told, Coy. At least that's what the publisher told me earlier today.
Coy - oops, forgot the last name...."Under Custer's Command : The Civil War Journal of James Henry Avery"
shotgun - All right, since he ain't gonna do it I will. Buford is in fact Eric Wittenburg! The author of "Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions" as well as the author of at least three articles (that I have in front of me) in the "Gettysburg Magazine." He had written numerous other articles of various Civil War Magazines that I don't have in front of me. He is also the author of John Buford's biography. Shorely do hope I ain't left a lot out. Welcome back my friend!!
Buford - Thanks, Shotgun. I really don't like to blow my own horn. Actually, it was five in G-burg.
Coy -
Buford - Thanks, Coy. Like I said, I didn't even know that was there.
Buford - No problem, Shotgun. Most of these folks know me, anyway.
Rockeur - I went to Iron pen's site disocver Bufords identity. By the way it is an honor to have such a distinquished author with us.
Coy - Buford, my pleasure. I kinda like bragging that I know historians/authors.
Buford - I appreciate that a lot, Coy.
3rdLa - Hey rockeur, and yes Buford, it has been awhile, good to see an old friend indeed.
shotgun -  As I have tried to explain to folks before (without our Buford's help unfortunately), it was John Buford's defense in depth that saved the day for the Union army at Gettysburg. It was not Ewell's not taking the hill, but Buford that made the difference. Had he not been there the high ground would have been lost and the next battle would have probably been at Taneytown. Same result however. Just my opinion of course
Buford - Well said, Shotgun. :-)
BaylorDan - Buford, do you agree with shotgun that Ewell taking the high ground on the first day would not have made a significent difference?
newyawk - BD Meade would have moved his position from G'burg to the Pipe Creek Line, he already had the orders out( I belive) it was an even stronger postion than G'burg.
BaylorDan - And, I hope I am not putting words in shotgun's mouth.
Buford - NY has it just right, Baylor Dan.
BaylorDan - Buford, is there any chance that Lee, if Meade retreated to Pipe Creek, would have slid off to the south, headed for Washington, and made Meade pursue him?
Buford - B-D, that's a good question, and another night's long discussion. For now, I must call it a night. I have to be in court early tomorrow morning, and it's getting late. Thanks for listening to me rant everyone, and I will look forward to seeing all of you again soon.
BaylorDan - Thanks very much Buford. I look forward to another night.
Buford - Good night, all. Buford is *gone*
Buford - Has Left The Camp. - from using Mozilla/4.02 [en] (Win95; I) on 7/19 at 10:34pm EST)