Andrew Porter (Civil War general)

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Andrew Porter
Andrew Porter.jpg
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 brigadier general rank insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held Provost Marshal General of the Army of the Potomac
Battles/wars Mexican War
American Civil War:
 • First Battle of Bull Run
 • Peninsula Campaign
Spouse(s) Margaretta Falconer Biddle

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.[1]

Early life[edit]

Porter was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on July 10, 1820. He was the son of Sarah Humes and George Bryan Porter (1791–1834), a Governor of the Michigan Territory.

He was a grandson of Revolutionary War officer Andrew Porter and a second cousin of Mary Todd Lincoln. His younger first cousin, Horace Porter (1837–1921), also served as a Union general and later as the U.S. Ambassador to France.[2][3] He attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, for six months in 1836 and 1837.[4]


Mexican-American War[edit]

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.[4] 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.

Civil War[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.[5]

A photo of Porter by Mathew Brady circa 1862 survives.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Porter married Margaretta Falconer (Margarite) Biddle (1825–1913) of the Biddle family. She was the daughter of John Biddle (1792–1859), a military officer and Michigan politician. Her nephew was John Biddle (1859–1936), who became Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.[7] Together, they were the parents of:

  • John Biddle Porter (1858–1915).[8]

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.[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.

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. ^ "Andrew Porter | Biographies". Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  2. ^ "HORACE PORTER". The New York Times. 30 May 1921. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "NOTED MEN AT BIER OF GENERAL PORTER; Hear 'Taps' Soundsd Over Veteran at Simple Services in 5thAv. Presbyterian Church.DEEDS PRAISED IN PRAYER Rev. Dr. John Kelman Gives Thanksfor "One of the Great Gentlemen of the Olden Days."". The New York Times. 3 June 1921. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Warner, pp. 377–78.
  5. ^ Miller, Richard F. (2014). States at War, Volume 3: A Reference Guide for Pennsylvania in the Civil War. University Press of New England. p. 371. ISBN 9781611686197. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Portrait of Porter by Mathew Brady
  7. ^ Owen Picton (May 2004). "Descendants of William Biddle III". Archived from the original on November 18, 2010. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ John Biddle Porter at Find a Grave

External links[edit]