Monuments to Individuals at Gettysburg

The monument to Union Brigadier General John Buford is west of Gettysburg on Chambersburg Road (U.S. 30) at the intersection with Stone Avenue. (39.83795° N, 77.25164° W; Google map; Tour map: Stone & Meredith Avenues) It was erected in 1892 and dedicated on July 1, 1895.

The nine foot tall bronze statue was created by sculptor James Kelly, who was well known for his statues of military figures. Kelly’s interviews with his subjects were published in 2005 in Generals in Bronze, edited by William B. Styple. The statue stands on a six and a half foot tall rough-hewn granite base.

The cannon surrounding the monument are the actual pieces of Calef’s Battery, 2nd United States Artillery, Battery A. The barrel facing down Chambersburg Pike (the one facing toward the lower right corner of the photograph) fired the first Union artillery shot of the battle under General Buford’s personal direction. Captain Calef tracked it down after the war using its serial number, 223. It is marked by a small bronze plate which can be seen in the photo on top of the barrel.

Monument to Union Brigadier General John Buford at Gettysburg

Bronze statue of Brigadier General John Buford at Gettysburg, surrounded by the cannon of Calef’s Battery A, 2nd U.S. Artillery. In the background is the equestrian statue of Major General John Reynolds.

From the front of the monument:


In memory of
Major General John Buford
Comdg. 1st Div. Cav. Corps Army of the Potomac
who with the first inspiration of a cavalry officer
selected this battlefield July 1st, 1863.

From the rear:

From this crest  was fired the opening gun of the battle:
one of the four cannon at the base of  this memorial.

Brigadier General John Buford

John Buford was born in Kentucky on March 4, 1826. He was the half-brother of Union General Napoleon B. Buford and the cousin of Confederate General Abraham Buford.

West Point trained and a veteran of the 2nd Dragoons, Buford recognized the importance of Gettysburg’s strategic position as a hub of several major roads. He expertly positioned his division to delay the Confederate forces advancing on the city until Union infantry could reach the field, allowing the Army of the Potomac to control the vital high ground south and east of town throughout the battle.

Buford did not survive the year. Stricken with typhoid during the autumn campaign on the Rappahannock, he died on Dec. 16, 1863. A deathbed promotion to Major General was made effective to July 1, 1863, his triumph at Gettysburg.

Monument to Union Brigadier General John Buford at Gettysburg