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 [decorative delimiter] Class of May 6, 1861

Vol. II

(Born Va.)

Adelbert R. Buffington

(Ap'd Va.)


Adelbert Rinaldo Buffington: Born Nov. 22, 1837.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1856, to May 6, 1861, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

Bvt. Second Lieut., Ordnance, May 6, 1861.

Served during the Rebellion of the Seceding States, 1861‑66: in drilling Volunteers at Washington, D. C., May 7 to June 5, 1861; as Asst.

(Second Lieut., Ordnance, May 14, 1861)

(First Lieut., Ordnance, July 22, 1861)

Ordnance Officer at St. Louis Arsenal, Mo., June 8, 1861, to Oct. 18, 1862 (temporarily commanding, Apr. 9 to July 11, 1862), being engaged in the additional duties of mustering Missouri and Illinois Volunteers, — aiding with artillery and men in the Defense of Pilot Knob, Mo., threatened with attack, and acting as Asst. Adjutant-General of 5th Division, Army of the West, — and drilling and organizing the employees of  p774 the Arsenal into a Regiment of Missouri Militia, of which he was commissioned the Colonel by Governor Gamble; in command of Wheeling Ordnance Depot, W. Va., Oct. 25, 1862, to Sep. 12, 1863; as Inspector

(Captain, Ordnance, Mar. 3, 1863)

of Rifling Seacoast Cannon, Sep. 19, 1863, to July 13, 1864; and in command of New York Arsenal, July 13, 1864, to Sep., 1865, — and of Baton

(Bvt. Major, Mar. 13, 1865, for Faithful and Meritorious Services in the Ordnance Department)

Rouge Arsenal, La., Sep. 14, 1865, to Aug. 15, 1866.

Served: as Chief of Ordnance, Department of the Gulf, Aug. 15, 1866, to Mar. 26, 1867, — and of the Fifth Military District (Louisiana and Texas), May 26 to July 6, 1867; on leave of absence, July 6 to Nov. 6, 1867; in command of Watertown Arsenal, Mas., Jan. 1 to Oct. 20, 1868; as Assistant Ordnance Officer at Watervliet Arsenal, Oct. 20, 1868, to Sep. 29, 1873, except while Assistant Superintendent of the Armament of the Southern Seacoast Fortifications, Feb. 1, 1872, to May 7, 1873; in command of Indianapolis Arsenal, Oct. 15, 1873, to Apr. 17,

(Major, Ordnance, June 23, 1874)

1875, — and of Allegheny Arsenal, Apr. 19, 1875, to Nov. 16, 1880 (leave of absence in Europe, Dec. 6, 1875, to Apr. 22, 1876); as Member of Board to fix value of right of way through the Allegheny Arsenal Grounds, Apr. 30 to June 7, 1875; in command of Watervliet Arsenal, N. Y., Dec. 3, 1880, to Sep. 29, 1881, — and of Springfield Armory, Mas.,

(Lieut.‑Colonel, Ordnance, June 1, 1881)

Oct. 3, 1881, to –––––.

Colonel, Ordnance, Feb. 28, 1889.

Vol. IV
[Supplement, Vol. IV: 1890‑1900]

Military History. — Served: In command National Armory, Springfield, Mas., Sept. 29, 1881 to Jan. 21, 1892. — In command Rock Island Arsenal, Jan. 21, 1892 to March 22, 1897. — In command U. S. Powder Depot, Dover, N. J., March 22, 1897 to –––––; President (previously member) Board to propose plans, etc., for erection of Army Gun Factory at Watervliet Arsenal, 1890‑92. — President of the Ordnance Board, 1890‑92. — Member of Board appointed under Act of Congress, Aug. 18, 1890, to inquire into facilities for producing steel forgings for high power guns at or near Pacific coast, Rock Island Arsenal, Indianapolis Arsenal, and Gulf coast; and advisability of erecting gun factories for finishing and assembling high power guns, etc., 1890. — President of Boards for examination of officers for promotion in the Ordnance Department, 1890‑91. President of Board to consider and report upon the subject of field and siege carriages, etc., 1892.

(Brig.‑General, Staff — Chief of Ordnance, April 5, 1899)

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Military History. — Served: As Chief of Ordnance U. S. Army, and in addition, for part of the time, as member of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification until

Brig.‑General, U. S. A., Retired Nov. 22, 1901,
by operation of law.

— Residence, Madison, N. J.

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

Military History. —

Brigadier-General, Chief of Ordnance, April 5, 1899.

Brigadier-General, U. S. A., Retired Nov. 22, 1901,
By Operation of Law.

During the two years and eight months that he was Chief of Ordnance, he brought about changes of far-reaching consequence; viz.:

First, the substitution of nitro-cellulose for nitro-glycerine powder for the Army, this involving the enlargement of the gun chambers;

Second, the solving of the problem of the effect of exterior explosion versus penetration and interior explosion; the former by means of the 18‑inch Gathman torpedo gun, throwing a shell containing about 500 pounds of wet gun cotton; the latter by the service 12‑inch rifle, against  p92 targets exactly alike, representing the side of the latest battle ship, armored with 12½ inches of Kruppized steel. The first Gathman shell exploded on the center of its target, producing no effect and would height have endangered a ship by striking its armor belt; the first 12‑inch rifle shell passed through the center of its target, exploding and wrecking everything in rear of it. (See pp768‑769, Report of Chief of Ordnance, 1901.)

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

(Adelbert Rinaldo Buffington, Born Nov. 22, 1837.)

Military History. —

Brigadier-General, Chief of Ordnance, Apr. 5, 1899.

Brigadier-General, U. S. A., Retired, Nov. 22, 1901,
By Operation of Law.

 p67  Died, July 10, 1922, at Madison, N. J.: Aged 84.

Buried, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.

Portrait and obituary in Annual Report, Association of Graduates, for 1922.

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