Peter Augustus Porter


Peter Augustus Porter Famous memorial

Buffalo, Erie County, New York, USA
Death 3 Jun 1864 (aged 36)
Cold Harbor, Hanover County, Virginia, USA
Burial Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York, USA
Plot C4 L141
Memorial ID 6576929 View Source

Civil War Union Army Officer. Born in Black Rock, New York, he began his life as part of a proud familial history that extended back to days of George Washington and the revolution, his great-grandfather helping to manufacture the first cannon balls used in the war. His grand-father, Peter Buell Porter in 1828 was appointed as Secretery of War by President John Q. Adams. Peter Augustus gradusted from Harvard University in 1845 and from there went on to excell in academia at the universities of Heidelberg and Berlin. By 1862 he was a rising star in the legal field as well as in the political arena. Indeed he was nominated on the Republican ticket for Secretery of State for the State of New York, he declined in favor of the army saying that his neighbors had intrusted him with the lives of their sons and he could not leave them while the war lasted. Giving up everything that calculated to make his life enjoyable he volunteered for the seat of war out of a sense of duty to his country and fellow man. In 1862 he raised a regiment later to consolidated with other units and reorganized to the order heavy artillery, this unit be deignated the 8th New York Volunteer Heavy Artillery. These units generally guarded the forst around Washington and participated in parades used to increase morale in the city in the time of war. However, they were also trained to be used as infantry if so necessary and in May 1864 were ordered by General Ulysses Grant to go to Virginia to join the fighting in the south. They were to be used as replacement man-power to replace not only the casualties that had been taken in previous heavy battles but also to replace man-power whose terms of enlistments were expired and would be heading home. Colonel Porter and his 8th New York Heavy Artillery joined the Army of the Potomac prior to the 20th of May, 1864. They saw limited action during the Spotsylvania Campaign and again at Totopotomy Creek. Then on June 3, 1964, his unit at the vanguard of the assault on the Confederate brestworks, the promising young lawyer/politician from Niagra Falls New York who had given up the comfortable life his familial position and education had afforded him to join the ranks of men devoted to saving their country at the hour of her greatest need, fell at the head of his regiment leading with drawn sword in one hand and the regimental colors in the other and gasping out his last order to his men, "Guide on the colors." For two days, in near 100 degree heat his body lay in the ghastly no man's land between to the opposing brestworks until being drawn off by a midnight caper by some of his men (Sergeant Leroy Williams of Company G would be later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this feat). When examined, his body was found to be pierced by six rebel bullets, two through the neck, one through the heart, one through the abdomen, and one in each thigh. His body was placed in a rude coffin made from boards of a nearby Virginia farm house and taken to White House Virginia for embalming. From there they were carried to Baltimore, Maryland to be met by a military escort and carried to the Episcopal church where he used to attend services when he lived in that city, and there placed in the chancel draped in the flag of his country. Following lying in state there all night, his rude coffin was re-escorted to the rail station and carried home to his once beloved Niagra Falls. Services were held at St. Peter's Church lead by Reverend Dr. Shelton, an Episcopal minister and the same that had given the same last rites to his father, mother, and beloved first wife. Following the funeral services at the church, his remains were carried to his final resting place in Oakwood Cemetery.

Bio by: Keith Fales

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Keith Fales
  • Added: 5 Jul 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6576929
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Peter Augustus Porter (17 Jul 1827–3 Jun 1864), Find a Grave Memorial ID 6576929, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .