Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BUFFINGTON, Adelbert R., soldier, born in Wheeling, Virginia, 22 November, 1837. He was graduated at the United States military academy in May, 1861, and made brevet second lieutenant of ordnance. During the civil war he served, first, in drilling volunteers at Washington, District of Columbia, from 7 May, till 5 June, 1861; was assistant ordnance officer at St. Louis arsenal from 8 June till 15 October, 1862, and was promoted first lieutenant of ordnance, 22 July. From 25 October, 1862, till 12 September, 1863, he was engaged in mustering Missouri and Illinois volunteers; aided with artillery and men in the defense of Pilot Knob, No. ;acted as assistant adjutant-general of the 5th division, Army of the West: drilled and organized the employees of the arsenal into a regiment of Missouri militia (of which he was commissioned colonel by Governor Gamble); and also commanded the Wheeling, W. Virginia, ordnance depot. He was inspector of rifling sea-coast cannon from 19 September, 1863, till 13 July, 1864, and brevet major, 13 March, 1865. He was in command of the New York arsenal from 13 July, 1864, till September, 1865, and of Baton Rouge arsenal, Louisiana, from 14 September, 1865, till 15 August, 1866; was chief of ordnance, department of the gulf, from 15 August, 1866, till 26 March, 1867; of the 5th military district, Texas and Louisiana, in 1867-'8; was in command of the Watertown arsenal from May, 1868, till 20 October of the same year, and assigned to the command of Detroit arsenal, 15 December, 1870, from which he retired, in February, 1872, to superintend the southern forts, first, as assistant, from February, 1872, till April, and then as chief from that time till May, 1873. From 14 May till October, 1873, was assistant at Watervliet arsenal; was in command of Indianapolis arsenal, 15 October, 1873, till 19 April, 1875; was promoted major of ordnance, 23 June, 1874; and was in command of the Allegheny arsenal from 19 April, 1875, till December, 1880, and of Watervliet arsenal from December, 1880, till 3 October, 1881. He was on leave of absence, inspecting arms for the Egyptian government, from 6 December, 1865, till 22 April, 1876. On 1 June, 1881, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel of ordnance, made a member of the board on heavy ordnance and projectiles, 13 July, 1881, till May, 1882, and on 3 October of that year placed in command of the national armory. He has perfected the following inventions: A magazine fire-arm; carriages for light and heavy guns; parts of models of 1884 Springfield rifles, and several mechanical devices. I he also introduced the gas-forging furnaces and improved methods, simplifying and reducing the cost of manufacture, at the national armory, of Springfield rifles, and was the originator of the nitre and manganese method of bluing iron and steel surfaces, which is used at the national armory for small arms.
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