General Buford & The Mob


An exciting experience at the close of the late War
Chicago News
Chicago, Illinois
July 5, 1884

The tragic death of Gen. Abe Buford of Kentucky recalls a story he told during his last visit to Chicago:  "I have passed through many trying and perilous scenes." he said to a party of friends, "but never felt so near death's door as at Springfield, Ill. just after the war.  To begin with, I had a narrow escaped during our fighting in Georgia.  Our forces were encamped with the Union troops in our front.  The sentry lines were thrown out as usual.  One day I passed through the lines to make some observations at a distant point.  I was unattended, but mounted upon a powerful horse.  During my absence the Union forces drove back our lines and occupied the same ground with their own pickets.  This was unknown to me, and I was surprised and alarmed on my return to be halted by a Union soldier.  I attempted to ride on.  The soldier tried to stop my horse with his bayonet.  Drawing my revolver I fired at him and rode to camp without waiting to see the effect of the shot.  The war went on and finally ended.  We surrendered to the superior forces on the Union side, and I went home.  Soon afterward I went to Springfield to get some horses which I had left in charge of Willis Renfrow.  On the day of my arrival a large number of Union soldiers were mustered out of service.  They literally swarmed into the hotel where I was stopping.  Pretty soon I discovered they were eying me very closely.  The more they did so the more excited they became.  Their excitement made me nervous and not a little frightened when I reflected that I was alone, without friends and in the midst of soldiers just from the scenes of conflict that had aroused all their bitterness toward the South.  As an officer in the Confederate army I felt that I would bear no small share of their hatred.  This thought frightened me beyond measure.  For the first time in my life I was really afraid, because I believed that if the soldiers became aroused there would be no escape for me.  The landlord came over and urged me to conceal myself before an outbreak occurred.  Although terribly scared, I had no thought of showing the white feather.  I merely went to my room, secured my revolver and came back to my seat, watching the crowd over the paper I pretended to read.  After awhile a man wearing a corporal's uniform came in.  Several soldiers ran to him in an excited manner.  I could not hear what was said, but I knew I was the subject of the talk.  The Corporal went to the hotel register, looked at my name and then came toward me.  Behind him were several of the men.  A score of them were eagerly watching the scene from the other side of the room.  The landlord, with blanched face, stood behind the counter, and I could see he was frozen with terror.  As the Corporal and his comrades came toward me, my hair literally stood on end.  I could feel the blood leave my face.  With all my power of self-control I could not conceal my agitation.  I felt that after going through the perils of war I was to die at the hands of a mob.  No man can portray his feelings at such a time.  Though great strength was demanded, I was so weak I could hardly stand.  When the Corporal approached me he asked if I was General Buford. With a feeble voice I told him I was.

"Do you remember the Union soldier you shot when breaking through the Union lines in Georgia?" he asked.

"I do," was the reply

"I am that man," said the soldier, "and I want to thank you for merely wounding my arm."  The man held out his hand.  I never was so glad to shake a hand in my life.  The peril I had supposed I was in had caused great beads of sweat to cover my face.  As I took his hand I sank exhausted in a chair.  I looked upon the Corporal as my savior.  When he grasped my hand I felt that I had gone from hell to heaven.  The other soldiers crowded around.  It seems they were only excited because a late enemy was there.  Before I left we all drank to the success of our common country and agreed to forget that we had been enemies.  I think that is the most thrilling personal experience I ever had."




Home

BUFORD Families in America Book 2005

Addendum to Buford Book 2005

Cemeteries

Letters
Simeon R. Buford

Letters
John Quincy Adams Buford

Obituaries

Photographs

Wills

And my ALL-TIME favorite ~ TRIVIA

~~~Clouds by Torie~~~