Buford, John was born on March 4, 1826 in Woodford County, Kentucky, United States. Son of John and Anne (Bannister) Watson Buford.
Graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1848.
Brevetted to Second lieutenant United States Army, 1848, second in command Lieutenant, 1849, First lieutenant, 1853, regimental g.m., 1855. Frontier duty, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas. Took part in Sioux Expedition, 1855.
Commissioned brigadier general United States Volunteers, 1862, assigned to cavalry. Wounded at Battle of Centerville, 1862. Chief cavalry Army of Potomac, 1862.
Served in battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg. Promoted major general volunteers shortly before death.