General Fitz-John Porter Biography


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 19, 1862

This Section of the WEB site allows the serious student of the Civil War to develop a more detailed understanding of the key people and events of the Civil War. This archive includes all the Harper's Weekly newspapers published during the Civil War. This information is simply not available anywhere else.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)


John Porter

Fitz-John Porter

The Seven Days Battle

The Seven Days Battle

Lincoln Calls for Troops

Lincoln Calls for More Troops

General Burnside in Newbern

General Burnside in Newbern

Fitz-John Porter

Fitz-John Porter Biography

Chickahominy Swamp

The Chickahominy Swamp

Harrison's Landing

Harrison's Landing

Gaines's Mills

Gaines's Mills Battle Description

Gaines's Mills

The Battle of Gaines's Mills

Battle of Fairoaks

Battle of Fairoaks

Gaines's Mills

Gaines's Mills

Harrison's Landing

Description of Harrison's Landing

Richmond Cartoon



JULY 19, 1862.]




ON page 449 we publish a portrait of Brigadier-General Fitz-John Porter, commanding a corps in the army of the Potomac, from a photograph by M'Clees, of Philadelphia.

General Porter was born in New Hampshire about the year 1824, and is consequently about thirty-eight years of age. He graduated at West Point in the 4th artillery on 1st July, 1845, and obtained promotion to a first-lieutenancy in May, 1847. He accompanied General Scott to Mexico, and for gallant and meritorious conduct at Molino del Rey was brevetted Captain. At Chapultepec he again distinguished himself, and obtained the brevet rank of Major. At the fight at the Belen Gate he was severely wounded. On the return of the army to the United States he was appointed Assistant-Instructor of Artillery at West Point, which office he filled, we believe, until the out-break of the rebellion.

On the increase of the army, in May, 1861, Fitz-John Porter was appointed Colonel of the new 15th infantry, and, three days afterward, Brigadier-General of Volunteers. His command was in the Army of the Potomac. He rendered useful aid to General McClellan in reorganizing the army after the battle of Bull Run, and was soon placed in command of a division. He accompanied the army to Yorktown, and was there placed in command of the siege-works. After the evacuation of the place he was for a while Governor of Yorktown, but soon resumed his place in the advancing army. On 25th June he commanded the extreme right of our army, and bore the brunt of the terrible battles of 26th and 27th. No better or braver soldier lives than Fitz-John Porter.


GENERAL GEORGE ARCHIBALD McCALL, whose portrait we give on page 449, is said to be wounded and a prisoner in the hands of the rebels. He was born in Pennsylvania about the year 1801, and is consequently over 60 years of age. He graduated at West Point, in the infantry, in 1822, and served many years in his regiment and likewise in the subsistence department. In the Florida war he won fame and his company under General Worth. At the outbreak of the Mexican war he served under General Taylor, and was brevetted Major for gallant conduct at Palo Alto, and Lieutenant-Colonel for the same at Resaca de la Palma. In December, 1847, he was promoted to a Majority, and in June, 1850, he became Inspector-General of the army with the rank of Colonel. On the outbreak of the rebellion he was appointed Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and served with Patterson in his inglorious campaign on the Upper Potomac. He was subsequently transferred to the army of the Potomac, where he obtained command of a division.

At the terrible battle of the Chickahominy on the 26th ult., General M'Call's division bore the brunt of the first day's fighting and behaved like heroes. Their commander is known to have been wounded, and, as his horse has been found riderless, it is supposed that the gallant General fell into the hands of the enemy. We can not afford to spare so good a man.


WE publish on page 454 a couple of pictures from North Carolina, from sketches by our special artist, Mr. A. Wiser. One of them represents THE RECEPTION OF GOVERNOR STANLY, OF NORTH CAROLINA, AT WASHINGTON in that State. The Governor made a handsome address to the people, and was exceedingly well received.

The other picture represents the PRESENTATION OF A SWORD TO GENERAL BURNSIDE BY THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND. We condense the following account of the affair from the Herald correspondence:

The ground selected for the presentation and grand review of this portion of the corps d'armee was situated about half a mile from the railroad bridge. It is level, rather high, and large enough to permit the free movements of, as I before said, upward of fifty thousand men. For some time before the arrival of the first regiment the people began to gather. Five was the hour; but at five there were few of the regiments on the spot. Shortly after, however, a sight was presented to all the lookers-on that can never be effaced from their memories. From one corner of this large field, leading from the bridge, came long lines of artillery and cavalry, while from every side came pouring in, to the strains of joyous music, regiment after regiment, who, after marching into the space, took up their positions and awaited further orders.

The appearance of the General was signaled by a salute of fifteen guns, fired by Captain Belger's Rhode Island battery. He, with his staff, almost immediately proceeded to the centre of the field, where a sort of platform was erected on one of the caissons. The army was drawn up, forming a hollow square, or rather squares within squares, in the centre of which were the staff officers of the different generals, who were also present. On the platform there were but four persons—General Burnside and Commodore Rowan to represent us, and General Maurau and aid on the part of Rhode Island. After the usual military salute, given along with the muttered thunder of the arms, General Maurau approached General Burnside, bearing in his hands the magnificent gift.

He made a handsome speech to General Burnside, in reply to which the latter said:

In behalf of this gallant little army which surrounds you, I beg through you to thank the State of Rhode Island for this gift, given in appreciation of our services at the "Battle of Roanoke." Your excellent Governor has most fittingly said that the services of this army have been in this manner remembered through its commander. Without the skill, courage, patience, and fortitude of the general officers, field and staff officers, company officers, noncommissioned officers, and privates of this corps d'armee, together with the full and hearty co-operation of our gallant navy in these waters, the State of Rhode Island would have been deprived the pleasure of giving, and I debarred the proud satisfaction of receiving, this elegant sword.

The ceremony took up but a short time, and at its conclusion a cheer was raised by the men that rivaled in force the salvos of artillery that heralded the approach of the much beloved commander of our forces. Not content with giving vent to their feelings once, it was repeated and repeated, the woods throwing back the echo, until one would almost fancy a whole State had raised up its voice—and may be it will soon—and that, too, for the good old Union.

The General buckled on the sword, and, standing on the same place, remained there until the whole army had passed in review.


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