Fitz John Porter (August 31, 1822 – May 21, 1901) (sometimes written FitzJohn Porter or Fitz-John Porter) was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War. He is most known for his performance at the Second Battle of Bull Run and his subsequent court martial.
Although Porter served well in the early battles of the Civil War, his military career was ruined by the controversial trial which was called by his political rivals. Afterwards he worked intensely to restore his tarnished reputation for almost 25 years, when he was finally restored to the army's roll.
At the Battle of Second Bull Run, Porter's Corps was sent to reinforce Pope’s army, and on August 29 he was ordered to attack the flank and rear of Stonewall Jackson’s Corps while also maintaining contact with General John Reynolds’ division, a conflict in orders that could not be resolved. Pope was also unaware that General Longstreet’'s wing of the army had arrived on the battlefield to Stonewall’s left, a deployment that induced Porter to widely choose not to make the attack. On August 30 Pope again ordered the flank attack, and Porter reluctantly complied. As his Corps turned to head towards Jackson's right and attacked, it presented its own (and consequently the entire army's) flank to Longstreet's waiting men. About 30,000 Confederates now assailed Porter's 5,000 or so men and drove through them and into the rest of Pope's forces, doing exactly what Porter most feared would come of these orders. Pope was infuriated by the defeat, accused Porter of insubordination, and relieved him of his command on September 5.
On November 25, 1862, Porter was arrested and court-martialed for his actions at Second Bull RunPorter's association with the disgraced General George McClellan and his open criticism of Pope were significant reasons for his conviction at court-martial. Porter was found guilty on January 10, 1863, of disobedience and misconduct, and he was dismissed from the Army on January 21, 1863. It would take him nearly three more decades to clear his name.
After the war, Richard B. Irwin, Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General, wrote an account of the notorious court marshaling of Fitz John Porter after the Battle of Second Bull Run which became part of the well known Battles & Leaders of the Civil War series. It discusses the reasons for the court martial and the subsequent reversal of the findings.
This edition is specially formatted with images of Porter, as well as Generals Lee, Longstreet, and Stonewall Jackson.