About John Porter McCown
John Porter McCown (August 19, 1815 – January 22, 1879) was a career officer in the United States Army, fighting in the Mexican–American War and in the Seminole Wars. He also served as a general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
Early life and career
John Porter McCown was born near the town of Sevierville, located in Sevier County, Tennessee. In September 1835 he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, and graduated in July 1840 standing tenth out of 42 cadets. McCown was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 4th U.S. Artillery. He was promoted to first lieutenant on September 30, 1843. McCown then participated in the U.S. Army's military occupation of Texas in 1845 and 1846.
McCown fought during the Mexican–American War and participated in the Battle of Cerro Gordo near Xalapa, Veracruz. He was brevetted to captain on April 18, 1847, for his conduct in that battle. He served as the 4th Artillery's Regimental Quartermaster from March 29, 1847 to January 12, 1849. After the war McCown served along the Rio Grande on frontier duty, and he was promoted to captain on January 9, 1851.
In 1856 and 1857 McCown fought during the Seminole Wars in Florida, and in 1858 he was part of the Utah War. He then was on garrison duty in the Nebraska Territory as well as in the Dakota Territory from 1858 into 1861.
Civil War service
McCown chose to follow the Confederate cause and resigned his U.S. Army commission on May 17, 1861. He was appointed a captain in the artillery of the Confederate Army on March 16, and then promoted to lieutenant colonel on May 9. Also in 1861 he was in charge of a Confederate infantry brigade under the command of Gideon J. Pillow.
He was sent to the western theater and appointed a colonel in the Tennessee artillery on May 17. He was promoted to brigadier general on October 12, and he marched his brigade to Columbus, Kentucky, and on to the Battle of Belmont on November 7.
Battle of Island Number Ten
McCown was promoted to major general on March 10, 1862, and served during the Battle of Island Number Ten that spring. Following the surrender of the Confederate garrisons after the battle, he commanded the 2nd Division of the Army of the West from April until June 20, when he assumed overall command of the Army. On June 27 his command was added to the Second Corps of the Army of Mississippi, and fought at the Battle of Stones River near the end of 1862.
The Army of Mississippi was renamed the Army of Tennessee in 1863, and McCown's division was made part of Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee's Corps in that Army. In February 1863 McCown was relieved of his command and court-martialled by Gen. Braxton Bragg, the commanding general of the Army. McCown was tried and found guilty of disobedience of orders on March 16, and sentenced to suspension from duty for a period of six months. That May most of his command was sent for service in Mississippi.
By 1865 McCown was in North Carolina. In April he defended a Catawba River crossing near Morganton. McCown held the crossing against the Union cavalry division of Brig. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem with about 300 soldiers and one artillery piece. After the war he was paroled from Salisbury on May 12.
Following the war McCown became a teacher in Knoxville, Tennessee. Later he moved to Magnolia, Arkansas, and took up farming. In 1870 he moved to Little Rock, again engaged in farming. McCown died in Little Rock in 1879 and was buried in City Cemetery in Magnolia.