Monday, November 16, 2009

Fitz John Porter

This statue is over at the North Mill Pond in Portsmouth. Old Fitzy had a long career in the military, from the Mexican to the Civil War. But something happened that had him "cashiered".
It's right there on his plaque. What is being cashiered? I went and checked it out and it is even worse than court marshaled , it is a degradation ceremony. So Fitzy had his sword broken or his medals thrown on the ground. Maybe he got slapped or publicly disrespected. Anyway, it doesn't happen much. But the interesting thing is that Fitzy's cause was taken up by Pres. Hayes and Pres. Grant and finally Pres. Cleveland absolved him of whatever it was he did and erased the cashiering.


I'll save you a trip to wikipedia. Basically, war is hell. Porter had an order to charge Stonewall Jackson's army at the second Bull Run in the summer of 1862. Porter hesitated. Then when he was ordered again he complied and his 5000 union troops ran into 30000 rebels. Because of the hesitation and subsequent defeat he was the scapegoat for the loss of life and so got booted out of the army. They called it cashiering in 1904, the year the plaque was made, because he was insubordinate. Anyway, that's the story of the guy on the horse near the South Mill Pond. I also saw a chipmunk run across the road, an equally heroic deed, but no statues have yet been comissioned.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.