Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Political Military Leader

Union Colonel Peter Augustus Porter was killed June 3rd 1864 in the Battle of Cold Harbor.

Peter Augustus Porter was born July 14th 1827 in Black Rock, New York the son of Peter Buell Porter.  He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1857, as well as studying abroad in Europe.  Porter was an elected to the New York State Assembly in 1862.

On July 7th 1862 Porter was appointed the Colonel of the 129th New York Infantry, which would be renamed the 8th New York Heavy Artillery.  They were placed on duty guarding the forts that ringed Washington, DC.  On September 5th 1863 Porter was nominated to the office of New York Secretary of State, but declined to stay with the military.  In May 1864 the 8th along with Porter were ordered to join the Army of Potomac and General Ulysses S Grant’s Wilderness Campaign.


At the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3rd 1864, Porter was killed while leading his men.  He was found to have been shot six times.  Two nights later, during a rain storm, five men from the 8th went out under fire and got their Colonel’s body; bring it back into Union lines.  Porter’s body was taken to Baltimore, Maryland where it was met by military escort.  A Chaplain accompanied the body back to his home, where he was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, New York.

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