Union General Napoleon Bonaparte is born on January 13th, 1807 in Woodford, Kentucky. While Buford possessed many commands in the West, he was considered a hero early in the war at the Battle of Belmont, Missouri.
Buford attended West Point and would eventually graduate in 1827. After a stretch of serving with the frontier military, he was granted a leave in which he went to Harvard to study law. Buford ended up teaching at West Point before making the decision to leave the service in order to become a businessman. During the 1840s and 1850s, he became a banker and engineer in Illinois.
When the Civil War had started, Buford was now 54-years-old and started his own regiment known as the 27th Illinois. He received the commission of a colonel and his unit was ordered to Cairo, Illinois and placed in General Ulysses S. Grant’s army. Grant raided a Confederate camp at Belmont, Missouri on November 7th, 1861 and immediately drove the Rebels away. Grant’s men, however, became fixated on plundering the area that a Confederate counterattack almost changed into a disaster for the Yankees. Buford’s regiment was almost separated from the Union’s main force and he had to inspire his troop so they could fight their way out of the trap the Confederate’s had sprung; for his bravery, Buford was commended.
With Belmont behind him, Buford participated in the taking of Island No. 10 which was a stronghold for the Confederates in the Mississippi River; he was trusted with command of the island once it was seized. Buford and his regiment in October of 1862 fought at Corinth, Mississippi but unfortunately had to leave his field command due to falling ill from sunstroke.
Buford would eventually get better and returned to the West to where he received a promotion to brigadier general in command of the district of Eastern Arkansas. He would remain here until the war had reached its end, although his main action in the military came in fending off in the area Confederate raiders. However, controversy had been generated by the way he had dealings with troops that were black. Earlier criticism had been made on his lack of trying to assist refugee slaves and new comments he made would make things worse by voicing his preference for leading white troops. Buford was able to silence part of his critics by implementing programs for slaves that were free in Arkansas that basically succeeded in satisfying their present needs.
Before the war ended, poor health had forced Buford to resign in March of 1865. After his retirement, he was brevetted to major general. After the war, he worked in a variety of businesses until his death in Chicago in 1883. Napoleon Bonaparte Buford had a younger half-brother by the name of John Buford; he was a Union General who led the Yankee force that engaged first the Confederates in 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.