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Autograph, General Fitz John Porter

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Your Price: $ 250.00
Item Number: Auto5221
 

 



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War Date Letter Signed With Rank

General Porter writes to Governor Morgan of New York to send him recruits for the 13th, 17th and 25th New York Volunteer Regiments


(1822-1901) Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, he was the cousin of Union Admiral David D. Porter. He graduated in the West Point class of 1845, and earned the brevets of captain and major for gallantry and bravery in the Mexican War at the Battle of Molino del Rey, and at the Battle of Chapultepec where he was wounded. From 1849 to 1855 he was the assistant instructor of artillery at the U.S. Military Academy, and from 1857 to 1860, he served as Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston's adjutant in the Utah expedition. Porter was promoted to brigadier general on May 17, 1861. He became a trusted adviser and loyal friend to General George B. McClellan, but his association with the soon-to-be-controversial commanding general of the Union army would prove to be disastrous for Porter's military career. In the 1862 Virginia Peninsular campaign, Porter led a division of the 3rd Corps, and during the 7 Days battles he commanded the 5th Corps where he demonstrated some of the finest defensive fighting of the entire Civil War, and at the Battle of Malvern Hill, Porter also played a leading role. General Porter had a very memorable experience when he decided to make aerial observations in a hot air balloon without the assigned expert to handle the craft, Professor Thaddeus Lowe. When he ascended with only one securing line, the balloon subsequently broke loose and General Porter found himself drifting west over enemy lines in danger of being captured or killed. Fortunately, the combination of a favorable wind change and Porter himself adjusting the gas valves allowed him to return to the Union lines and land safely. Although it was an embarrassing accident, General Porter was able to perform his observations of enemy defenses as intended and recorded his findings, although the observation balloon program was disbanded a year later. He saw action in the 2nd Bull Run campaign, and at Antietam. Porter became the unfortunate scape goat for the anti General George B. McClellan faction in the army & the government headed by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, and was tried on trumped up charges by a military commission for his actions in the 2nd Bull Run campaign. With the odds greatly stacked against him by virtue of defective maps, perjury and hearsay testimony, Porter was found guilty and dismissed from the army in 1863. He spent the rest of his life in an effort to vindicate his name and honor and have his name reinstated on the army roster. Sixteen years later a board headed by General John M. Schofield not only completely exonerated Porter from the charges brought up against him, but also cited him as the savior of the Army of Virginia at 2nd Bull Run! The ruining of the career of this magnificent soldier simply for his devotion to his friend and commanding officer, General McClellan, was a disgraceful chapter in the history of the Army of the Potomac. President Grover Cleveland commuted Porter's sentence and a special act of the U.S. Congress restored Porter's commission as an infantry colonel in the Regular U.S. Army, backdated to May 14, 1861. Two days later, August 7, 1886, Porter, seeing vindication, voluntarily retired from the Army. He served as the New York City Commissioner of Public Works, the New York City Police Commissioner, and the New York City Fire Commissioner. On December 27, 1894, Porter, along with 18 others, founded the Military and Naval Order of the United States, which was soon renamed the Military Order of Foreign Wars. Porter's name was at the top of the list of signers of the original institution and received the first insignia issued by the Order. Porter died in Morristown, New Jersey, on May 21, 1901, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.

War Date Letter Signed: 2 pages, 7 3/4 x 9 3/4, in ink, written to the Governor of New York.

To
His Excellency Edwin D. Morgan
Governor of New York
Albany, New York

Division Head Quarters
Hall's Hill, Va., January 26/62

Governor,

If in your power to fill up at an early day the following Regiments from your State, in my command, you will be doing them- already remarkable for their efficiency- a most excellent service which will redound to the credit of the State so soon as they take to active service which I doubt not will be soon. The Regiments are small in comparison with those from other States in the same brigades- which have been kept at the maximum. They are well armed, equipped, disciplined & drilled and prepared to take the field- but their small numbers will not permit them to compete to the desired extent with other excellent Regiments, in the same brigade and division. The number of men required for the 13th New York Vols- 260 men, 17th New York Vols. 217 men, 25th New York Vols. 405 men. May I ask your aid & hope soon to hear of recruits arriving from you.

I am Governor,
Your Obt. Servant,
F.J. Porter
Brig. Genl. Com'g.

Docketed on the reverse. Very fine letter and content. Neatly written.



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