Porter Austin was born on 17 May, 1840 in Camillus, New York, the fifth child of Shadrach and Wealthy Austin. He enlisted on 2 August, 1862 at Camillus, New York, for a period of three years and was mustered into service on 15 August, 1862 as a private in the 122nd New York Infantry’s Company H. At the time of enlistment he was a 22 years old farmer; standing 6 feet and 3 inches tall, his eyes, hair, and complexion were all described as “light.” On 19 October, 1862 Porter Austin died of typhoid fever—which had been aggravated by his drinking a quart of fresh cider —in Downsville, Maryland.
Although grave number 369 in Antietam National Cemetery bears the name “Jesse Austin, NY” and battlefield records indicate that he served in the 122nd New York’s Company H, dying on 19 October, 1862, recent research suggests that the soldier buried in this grave is in fact Porter Austin. This conclusion is based on research I and the Antietam National Battlefield Museum staff conducted which found that:
• The 1903 Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York lists a Porter Austin, who died on 19 October, 1862 in Downsville, Maryland – the same day as the soldier in grave 369. However, no “Jesse Austin” is listed in this regiment.
• Antietam Battlefield’s Distance Disinterment Log indicates Porter Austin—listed as a private in the 122nd New York, Company H—was disinterred from a Maryland cemetery (Lot E, Section 25) for transfer to the new Antietam National Cemetery sometime before 1867, but the Interment (Grave) Log bears no record of his reburial. However, the Interment Log records that a “Jesse Austin”—for whom no record of disinterment exists—was interred in grave 369 in the Antietam National Cemetery and listed as being a private in the 122nd New York’s Company H; died on 19 Oct. 1862; “Removed from Hagerstown.” It appears likely that in the confusion of locating, transferring, and reburying the thousands of soldiers to the new cemetery, Porter was mistakenly listed as “Jesse” on the National Cemetery Interment Records.
• A genealogy of the Austin family lists Porter Austin—born 17 May, 1840 in Camillus, New York—who is described as having “died in the Civil War; body was not brought home.”