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In the summer of 1861, John E. H. Buford walked into the courthouse at Oxford, Mississippi, went to the circuit clerk’s office, and made out his will. He was only 24 years old, and in perfect health, but Buford had a good reason for putting his affairs in order. His country was at war; and he planned to join the army and accept the dangers of a soldier’s life. John E.H. Buford wrote the following on page 165 of Will Book 1:
In view of going into camp to meet our countries enemies and the uncertainty of life, I have this day made this as my will. In the name of the Almighty God Amen. I have this day written and executed this my last will and testament and being sensible of the uncertainty of life particularly in the camp where there are battles and diseases and being in my right mind and desirous of disposing of my property without difficulty or trouble to any I have for this purpose given and do give and bequeath all my slaves & interests in land, horses, cattle and hogs together with the household and kitchen. In the first place I want my notes collected in Maury County, Tennessee, in the hands of Fleming and Frierson, lawyers at Columbia, Tennessee. Also note of Will Lee Buford and note on Stevenson & Thompson, the last note named to partnership note with my brother Thomas when collected. I wish my debts paid and my part of the land note with my brother Thomas who is equally interested in said. I wish all my lawful debts paid from money due me from my part of the growing crop and when all is paid I wish my father Goodloe W. Buford to receive all the rest and make such distribution to my brothers and sisters as he may think proper. I wish my sisters Olivia & Julia to have $500, five hundred above the others and have my interest in the buggy to my father Goodlow W. Buford & my mother, S.G. Buford, & also leave my watch to my sister Julia. In testimony where of I have signed and sealed this my last will and testament in presence of witnesses this Thirtieth 30th day of July, Eighteen Hundred and Sixty One.John E. BufordJas. M. TankersleyH. N. BufordJas. L. Boyce
About 9 a.m. Colonel Manigault came to me and informed me that he intended to charge a battery in his front; wished me to send two regiments to his support. I consented to do so, and immediately ordered the Forty-fifth Alabama and Twenty-fourth Mississippi forward to perform that duty. They became hotly engaged soon after leaving their breastworks, the enemy being in heavy force and strongly posted, backed by many pieces of artillery, so planted as to enfilade a portion of our line. In addition to this enfilading fire, Colonel Manigault was exposed to a cross-fire from a battery in front of his left. In the unequal contest our line halted, staggered, and fell back in some confusion, but were easily rallied, reformed, and moved to the front. The Thirtieth, Twenty-ninth, and Twenty-seventh Mississippi were now successively ordered forward, with instructions to swing around upon and preserve the touch of elbow to the right. Captain Barret, commanding the battery, was directed to hold his fire, not to respond to the long-range guns of the enemy, and only to use his pieces when a favorable opportunity of playing upon the masses or lines of the enemy was presented. Immediately in front and in short range of these regiments the enemy had two batteries advantageously posted, so as to sweep an open field over which they had to pass in their advance. The ordeal to which they were subjected was a severe one, but the task was undertaken with that spirit and courage which always deserves success and seldom fails of achieving it. As often as their ranks were shattered and broken by grape and canister did they rally, reform, and renew the attack under the leadership of their gallant officers. They were ordered to take the batteries at all hazards, and they obeyed the order, not, however, without heavy loss of officers and men.
On the left of this last regiment was the Thirtieth Mississippi, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Scales. Most gallantly did they perform their part. In moving across the open field in short range of grape, canister, and shrapnel, 62 officers and men were killed and 139 wounded, of this regiment alone, all within a very short space of time, and upon an area not greater than an acre of ground. (The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 20, Part 1, pages 763-764)