In spite of a truly military name, the half-brother of Gettysburg hero John Buford held the rank of major general for only a few months. Napoleon Bonaparte Buford was born into Kentucky’s plantation society; the West Pointer (1827) served eight years in the artillery and as a professor at his alma mater. Following his 1835 resignation he settled in Illinois and engaged in banking, engineering, railroading, and iron.
He fought under Grant at Belmont, under Pope at Island # 10, and under Rosecrans at Corinth. In each of the latter two he directed a brigade. He served in the very early stages of the Vicksburg Campaign but his appointment as a major general was not confirmed by the Senate and it expired on March 4, 1863.
During the later part of the war he commanded in eastern Arkansas, with headquarters at Helena. On leave at the end of the war, he was brevetted major general and was mustered out on August 24, 1865; he was later a government appointee.
- Colonel, 27th Illinois (August 10, 1861)
- Commanding Flotilla Brigade, Army of the Mississippi (April 24-26, 1862)
- Commanding lst Brigade, 3rd Division, Army of the Mississippi (April 26-June 25 and September 20-November 1, 1862)
- Major General, USV (November 29, 1862)
- Commanding District of Eastern Arkansas, 16th Corps, Army of the Tennessee (September 19, 1863-January 6, 1864)
- Commanding District of Eastern Arkansas, 7th Corps, Department of Arkansas (January 6 – August 6, September 28 – October 7, 1864, and October 10, 1864-March 9, 1865)