Union Headquarters monuments > Cavalry Corps


The monument to the 1st Division of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac is west of Gettysburg on Reynolds Avenue. (Tour map: Reynolds Avenue South)

The division was commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg by Brigadier General John Buford (USMA ’47), a professional Army officer from Kentucky whose grandfather served under Robert E. Lee’s father in the Revolution and whose half-brother and cousin were Union and Confederate generals.

It was John Buford who decided that a battle would be fought at Gettysburg when he chose to defend the roads into town from approaching Confederate infantry. His skillful delaying tactics bought time for the Union First Corps to arrive on the field, setting into motion the events that saw the North defending the excellent position of high ground south and east of the city.

Monument to the 1st Division of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac on the Gettysburg battlefield

Seminary Ridge is in the background, with the modern buildings of the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

From the monument:

Army of the Potomac 
Cavalry Corps 
First Division
Brig. Gen. John Buford

First Brigade Col. Wm. Gamble
Second Brigade Col. Thos. C. Devin
Reserve Brigade Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt

June 29. Engaged in picketing scouting and patrolling westerly and northerly to Hagerstown. Finding no Confederate force Gen. Buford with the First and Second Brigades recrossed the mountains and encamped near Fairfield.

June 30. Arrived at Gettysburg at 11 A. M. as a detachment of Heth’s Confederate Division was about to enter but withdrew on the approach of the two Brigades of the Division. Gen. Buford deployed his Cavalry along the ridge east of Willoughby Run between the Mummasburg and Fairfield Roads with pickets well advanced.

July 1. Was attacked between 8 and 9 A. M. by Heth’s Division and Pegram’s Artillery Battalion which were held in check until the arrival of First Corps. The Second Brigade picketed the approaches from the north and retarded the advance of Ewell’s Corps until Eleventh Corps arrived. About 4 P. M. retreated to Cemetery Hill and formed on left of town and bivouacked for the night in front of Little Round Top.

July 3. Started in the morning for Westminster to guard Army trains. The Reserve Brigade Cavalry Corps arrived about noon on the Emmitsburg Road and engaged for four hours the Confederate right.

Casualties Killed 1 Officer 27 Men
Wounded 12 Officers 104 Men
Captured or Missing 6 Officers 268 Men Total 418

Union Brigadier General John Buford

Union Brigadier General John Buford