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[91]

In 1861 he was elected a member of the Assembly of the State of New York, where he performed his duties with faithfulness and assiduity. In 1862 he tendered his services to the government, applying for authority to recruit a company of volunteers for the war. On receiving the application, Governor Morgan at once offered him the command of a regiment, if he would undertake the recruiting of it in his own senatorial district. He began immediately, and raised a fine regiment of infantry, the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth New York Volunteers, in the unprecedentedly short time of about two weeks. It was originally one thousand strong, but was subsequently changed to the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery, and its numbers increased to more than two thousand. For nearly two years he was stationed in the defences of Baltimore, the latter part of the time in command of Fort McHenry.

In May, 1864, General Grant entered upon his great campaign in Virginia. Colonel Porter had been unceasing in his applications for active service, but now seemed destined to a new disappointment, as the army moved without him. It was only in consequence of the losses of men sustained in the battles of the Wilderness that his regiment was called into the field. He had said to his officers, during the long months of waiting: ‘Some of us will die in garrison, some on the march, and others on the field of battle; yet all alike will be remembered as having died in defence of our country.’ It was on a bright Saturday afternoon, after twenty months of garrison duty, that the confidential order reached him to proceed to the front. At nine o'clock on the following morning, Sunday, May 15th, they were en route for Washington, and on Monday evening arrived by boat at Belle Plain. On the march thence to Spottsylvania Court-House, Colonel Porter was temporarily in command of a brigade. His regiment was then brigaded under General R. O. Tyler, and he resumed his own command. Daylight on the morning of May 18th found them in line of battle near Spottsylvania Court-House, on an eminence overlooking the field where the fighting was going on. At eight o'clock they had changed their position so as to find themselves

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