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Porter, Col. Asbury


Posted By: Pat Ryan White (email)
Date: 10/15/2006 at 17:40:02

Col. Asbury Porter ~ The 4th Iowaís First Commander

The first Commander of the 4th Iowa Cavalry was Col. Asbury Porter, to whom belongs the honor of organizing and equipping the Regiment, by commission from Gov. Kirkwood and authority of the Secretary of War and in recognition for meritorious service rendered the State and Government as Major of the First Iowa Infantry on the field of battle to preserve the Union.

Col. Porter was one of the Pioneers of Iowa, coming to the State in 1835, where he bought land and settled with his family on a farm near Trenton. In 1847 he was elected Clerk of Court and moved to Mt. Pleasant one year after Iowa was admitted as a State. He served in 1st. Territorial Legislature which met in Old Zion Church in Burlington and two terms afterward in State Legislature at Iowa City. When the Civil war began, Col. Porter was Captain of a military company in Mt. Pleasant, known as the Mt. Pleasant Greys and at the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 troops, the company was the first to respond, and were accepted and sent to Keokuk to help form the First Regiment of Iowa Vol. Infantry and were known as Company F. Capt. Porter was elected Major of Regiment and served the 3 months being assigned to Geníl Lyons command and in the bloody battle of Wilsonís Creek, where Geníl Lyon lost his life, Major Porter distinguished himself for bravery. On the return of the Iowa First, Major Porter was instructed by the Secíy of War to raise and equip the 4th Iowa Cavalry - and was given authority to select, inspect and try the horses for the Regiment without any restrictions. The only instance known where this privilege was given the Colonel of any regiment during the war.

Col. Porter selected and inspected every horse and the Regiment was composed of battalions of horses of matched colors, and left for the field twelve hundred strong. Col. Porter was also given the privilege of establishing the Barracks for his men and drill fields near his home town, and the same was used by the 25th Iowa Infantry.

Col. Porter was much beyond the age for military service - being past fifty-two years of age when he enlisted and having his fifty-third birthday on a long march in the field July 20th, 1861. His health failed and eyes became affected so that in 1863 he was compelled to resign. He spent fifty years in Iowa and now sleeps in Iowa soil. In both regiments of service to his country, Col. Porterís son Watson was with him. First as a private in Co. F. 1st Reg. Iowa Vol., and then as Lieut. of Co. C. and later before the Regiment left for field was elected Captain of Company C. and served until his fatherís health failed and he was broken in health in 1863.

Undated, unnamed newspaper article, found in the scrapbooks of Mary [Blaut] Abraham, wife of Captain Lot Abraham; the scrapbooks are currently owned by their great-granddaughter, Martha [Wright] Allen, Mt. Pleasant, IA. [October 2006]


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