previous next


Colonel Porter is a graduate of the class of 1852, Harvard University. Prior to the war he was a member of the Boston City Council, having been also a member of the First Massachusetts Volunteer Artillery, joining it at its organization, and rising to its command with the reputation of being one of the most accomplished artillerists in the State. In April, 1861, the battery, under command of Captain Porter, took the field at the first call to arms, proceeding to Baltimore by the way of Annapolis, arriving there on May 8, just in time to save the magnificent viaduct of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from threatened destruction. This was the first important service rendered by Porter's battery. On an adjacent hill, above the railroad station, the famous Bouquet battery was built, under the direction and supervision of Captain Porter, for the protection of the road, and here the battery remained during the greater part of its three months service, perfecting its gunnery practice and making occasional demonstrations in Baltimore to keep the enemy in check. On June 20, 1861, the battery was ordered into Baltimore, and formed part of the force then occupying the city.

On its return to Boston, at the expiration of its three months service, it was immediately reorganized by Captain Porter as the First Massachusetts Light Artillery, and mustered in for three years service. It then consisted of six Guns—two rifles, two smooth bores, and two howitzers—and two hundred men. Their departure from Boston and passage through New York, on their way to the front, was marked with great enthusiasm. Shortly after their arrival in Washington a grand review of cavalry and artillery took place, on which occasion General Barry, chief of artillery, complimented Captain Porter on the drill and discipline of the battery, which he placed on the right of line of twenty full batteries assembled. President Lincoln and General McClellan were also present, the President remarking to the general, ‘That,’ pointing to Porter's battery, ‘is the best battery on the field.’

When the Union army advanced into Virginia, Porter's battery was assigned to Slocum's division of the grand old Sixth Corps, with whose glorious record the history of the battery is inseparably connected. It subsequently took a prominent part in the siege and fall of Yorktown, and in the battle of West Point. After the retreat of the enemy beyond the Chickahominy Porter's battery took position at Mechanicsville, within view of the steeples of Richmond. During the seven days battle (which marked the celebrated change of base) the battery had hot work to perform. At the battle of Gaines' Mills it was ordered to reinforce General Porter's Fifth Corps, and at the close of the day was left in an exposed position. Captain Porter was without orders to retire, and held his position, stubbornly and alone, for an hour, while the lines were closing in upon him, and little hope of retreat left. At length the command to fall back at full speed came, and, after delivering a parting volley into the advancing lines, the battery leisurely retired under a fire which ended only at the increasing darkness.

On June 30, the battery participated in the battle of Glendale, or Charles City Cross Roads. Porter's battery and Upton's battery of regular artillery went into action together on the most exposed part of the line, and did fearful

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (3)
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (1)
Annapolis (Maryland, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Josiah Porter (11)
Emory A. Upton (1)
Henry Warner Slocum (1)
George B. McClellan (1)
Abraham Lincoln (1)
Martin Barry (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
June 20th, 1861 AD (1)
April, 1861 AD (1)
1852 AD (1)
June 30th (1)
May 8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: