State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Commanding Officers of Occupied West Point

Col. Burr Porter
Col. Porter was commander of the Second Brigade at West Point. A brief bio from the History of the
Third Massachusetts Cavalry . . .
Colonel Burr Porter who succeeded Colonel Sargent in command of the Third Cavalry was a gentleman of liberal culture and a soldier of varied experience. He served in three wars and obtained military distinction on two continents. Burr Porter was born in New Hartford Conn Oct 26 1831. After graduating at Rutger's College New Brunswick NJ with high honors and having an ardent love of freedom and liberty he went to Europe and offered his sword to the Turkish Government at the beginning of the Crimean War. He served on the staff of Omar Pasha, was in the siege before Sevastopol and earned distinction and fame being presented with a sword by the Foreign Legion composed of the English and French officers who also served in that war. He came back to New York and was practising law when the Civil War broke out He was among the first to offer his services and at the outset of the struggle served on the staff of General John C Fremont Governor Andrew sent for him and offered him a commission in some Massachusetts regiment Colonel Porter chose the Fortieth and for some time was its Commander Near the close of the war he was made Colonel of the Third Massachusetts Cavalry. He was married in 1868 and an only child Katherine was born in 1869. When the Franco Prussian War broke out his love for the French impelled him to aid France in her hour of need and he went over to organize cavalry. The Army of the Loire being in great distress he offered his sword to the French. He took a staff position with General Clancy. He was killed in action December 10th 1870 and was buried with military honors. His body was later brought to America and his last resting place is in Forest Hills Cemetery Mass.


Col. William Gurney
Colonel Gurney was commander of the First Brigade. Here is his obituary from the New York Times of February 3, 1879 . . .
GEN. WILLIAM GURNEY.
Gen. William Gurney, of Charleston, S.C., whose death took place in in this City yesterday, was born at Flushing, Long Island, in 1821. He was of Quaker extraction. He came to this City in 1837, and obtained employment as a clerk in the wholesale establishment of A.N. Brown, in Dey-street. He became a junior partner of Mr. Brown, and afterward the head of the firm of Gurney & Underhill, which succeeded the old firm. He always took an active interest in the Militia in this City, and was originally a member of the Eighth Regiment. At the outbreak of the rebellion he was a First Lieutenant in the Seventh Regiment, which he accompanied during its three months' term of service. On his return to this City he accepted a Captain's commission in the Sixty-fifth Regiment, New-York Volunteers, commanded by Col. John Cochran.In 1862 he was appointed Assistant Inspector-General and Examining Officer on the staff of Gov. Morgan, in which position he was required to pass upon the qualifications of persons applying for commissions in the regiments of this State. In July of that year he received authority to raise a regiment, and in 30 days recruited the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh New-York Volunteers, at the head of which he returned to the front. Later on in the same yearhe was assigned to the command of the Second Brigade in Gen. Abercrombie's Division. In 1864 he joined the command of Gen. Q.A. Gillmore, who was then operating on the South Carolina coast. He was severely wounded at Denoe's Neck, near Charleston, in December, 1864, and was sent North for medical treatment. On his recovery he was assigned to duty as Commander of the post at Charleston, and returned to that city. He was promoted for gallantry in action to the rank of Brigadier-General. Gen. Gurney returned to this City in July, 1865, when he was mustered out of the service. He then went back with his family to Charleston, where he established himself as a merchant and cotton factor. He continued to reside there until about a year ago, when he came North on account of his health. In 1870 Gen. Gurney was appointed Treasurer of Charleston County. He was a member of the Electoral College in 1872 from South Carolina, and was the Commissioner from that State in the Centennial Exposition. Gen. Gurney was one of the originators of the Five Points Mission in this City, and one of the founders of Continental Lodge,Free and Accepted Masons. He was a member of Adelphi Chapter and Morton Commandery, and also a member of the Veteran Association of the Seventh Regiment. He was a gentleman of genial spirit and strict integrity, and had a large circle of warm personal friends.
 
General George H. Gordon
And finally the commander of the Second Division, General George H. Gordon. Here is General Gordon's Wikipedia entry and interestingly enough his . . . . Facebook page.


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