Andrew Porter (Civil War general)

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Andrew Porter
Andrew Porter.jpg
Andrew Porter
Born (1820-07-10)July 10, 1820
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Died January 3, 1872(1872-01-03) (aged 51)
Paris, France
Place of burial Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1846–1864
Rank Union army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brigadier General
Commands held Provost Marshal General of the Army of the Potomac

Mexican War
American Civil War

Andrew Porter (July 10, 1820 – January 3, 1872) was an American army officer who was a brigadier general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was an important staff officer under George B. McClellan during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, serving as the Provost Marshal of the Army of the Potomac.

Early life and career[edit]

Porter was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was a grandson of Revolutionary War Andrew Porter; son of George Bryan Porter; and a second cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln. His younger first cousin, Horace Porter, also served as a Union general. He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, for six months in 1836 and 1837.[1]

He served in the Mexican-American War as a first lieutenant in the 1st Mounted Rifles. Within a year, he was promoted to captain and cited for gallantry, being brevetted two grades to lieutenant colonel.[1] Porter spent the next fourteen years serving at various posts and forts on the frontier. He fought a duel in Texas with future Confederate general James J. Archer, whose second was Thomas J. Jackson, later "Stonewall" Jackson. Porter married Margaretta Falconer (Margarite) Biddle Biddle (1825–1913) of the Biddle family. Her father was military officer and Michigan politician John Biddle (1792–1859). Her nephew was John Biddle (1859–1936), who became Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.[2]

Civil War service[edit]

Porter in 1862 Mathew Brady photo

On the outbreak of the Civil War he was serving as a colonel of the 16th U.S. Infantry. He was appointed as a brigadier general in May 1861, and commanded the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division at First Battle of Bull Run. He served as Provost Marshal of the District of Columbia, and was then appointed as Provost Marshal General of the Army of the Potomac in the Peninsula Campaign. In April 1864 he mustered out for health reasons.

Porter moved to Paris, France, in an attempt to improve his health. However, he died at his home there in 1872, and his remains were returned to the United States for burial in Elmwood Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.[1]

A photo of Porter by Mathew Brady circa 1862 survives.[3]

His son John Biddle Porter was born September 5, 1858, and died June 21, 1915.[4]

Reflecting a post-Civil War pattern of naming many Washington, DC streets in newly-developed areas in the Capital after Union generals, an east-west street in the Northwest quadrant is named Porter Street, NW.

His cousin Horace Porter (1837–1921) also was a general in the civil war.

See also[edit]


  • Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Palo Alto, California: Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne T., eds., Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History, W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, ISBN 0-393-04758-X.
  • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901.


  1. ^ a b c Warner, pp. 377–78.
  2. ^ Owen Picton (May 2004). "Descendants of William Biddle III". Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ Portrait of Porter by Mathew Brady
  4. ^ John Biddle Porter at Find a Grave

External links[edit]