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One of Morgan's Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry

by John M. Porter edited by Kent Masterson Brown

Availablecloth$40.00 978-0-8131-2989-1
320 pages  Pubdate: 02/25/2011  5.5 x 8.5 x 1  32 b&w photos, 12 illustrations, 9 maps

John Marion Porter (1839–1898) grew up working at his family’s farm and dry goods store in Butler County, Kentucky. The oldest of Reverend Nathaniel Porter’s nine children, he was studying to become a lawyer when the Civil War began. As the son of a family of slave owners, Porter identified with the Southern cause and wasted little time enlisting in the Confederate army. He and his lifelong friend Thomas Henry Hines served in the Ninth Kentucky Calvary under John Hunt Morgan, the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy.”

When the war ended, Porter and Hines opened a law practice together, but Porter was concerned that the story of his service during the Civil War and his family’s history would be lost with the collapse of the Confederacy. In 1872, Porter began writing detailed memoirs of his experiences during the war years, including tales of scouting behind enemy lines, sabotaging a Union train, being captured and held as a prisoner of war, and searching for an army to join after his release.

Editor Kent Masterson Brown spent several years preparing Porter’s memoir for publication, clarifying details and adding annotations to provide historical context. One of Morgan’s Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry is a fascinating firsthand account of the life of a remarkable Confederate soldier. In this unique volume, Porter’s insights on Morgan and the Confederacy are available to readers for the first time.

Kent Masterson Brown is the creator of the magazine The Civil War. He is the author or editor of several books, including Cushing of Gettysburg: The Story of a Union Artillery Commander, Retreat from Gettysburg: Lee, Logistics, and the Pennsylvania Campaign, and The Civil War in Kentucky: Battle for the Bluegrass State. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

"John M. Porter served with General John Hunt Morgan's Confederate cavalry in many important campaigns in Kentucky and Tennessee. Observant and literate, he conveyed a sense of immediacy and drama in his early-postwar reminiscences. Enhanced by Kent Masterson Brown's sure-handed editing, Porter's account will be welcomed by anyone interested in Kentucky's war or cavalry operations in the western Confederate heartland."--Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War

"John Hunt Morgan's Kentucky cavalrymen stand perhaps second only to Jeb Stuart's Virginians in public perceptions of dashing mounted Confederates, yet few memoirs from Morgan's men have survived. John M. Porter's early postwar recollections, as elegant annotated by Kent Masterson Brown, are at once authoritative, balanced, and engagingly anecdotal. Anyone interested in the exploits of that daring and romantic body of Kentuckians will profit from reading One of Morgan's Men."--William C. Davis, Center for Civil War Studies, Virginia Tech

"He describes reconnoitering and raids behind enemy lines, the camaraderie of the mounted troops, his capture and time as a prisoner of war in Ohio, his return home via North Carolina in the war's waning days, and his immediate assessment of the heroic struggle."--Publishers Weekly

"Viewing his company of men as noble warriors, he describes reconnoitering and raids behind enemy lines, the camaraderie of the mounted troops, his capture and time as a prisoner of war in Ohio, his return hom via North Carolina in the war's waning days, and his immediate assessment of the heroic struggle."--Library Journal

"Here is a book that will put the reader right in the saddle as it traces the illustrious career of Lieutenant John Porter. . ." --Military Heritage

"Have you ever wanted to be able to hear a Civil War veteran talk about the war? Do you want to sit on that porch and listen to Cousin John? Do you want to hear how it felt to have given your all and lost? Whle those voices are gone, their memories and feeling have survived. We can 'listen' to one of them and hear his story in this fine book."--TOCWOC

"[Porter] gives readers a captivating and significant firsthand account."--Kentucky Libraries

"Readers will find this memoir to be a comfortable read and not over-bearing."--Bits & Pieces of Hardin County History

“Considering the scarcity of memoirs by members of Morgan’s command, Kent Masterson Brown’s heavily annotated edition of Porter’s memoir is most welcome.” --Civil War News

"John M. Porter of Butler County, Kentucky, studeid law before the Civil War and joined the Confederate army, serving under General John Hunt Morgan. Captured during the way, Porter spent nineteen months as a prisoner of war at Johnson's Island, Ohio. In 1872, John Porter wrote down his reminiscences of his Civil War service so it would not be forgotten. Aurthor Kent Masterson Brown, of Lexington, edited John Porter's memoirs and has done an excelet job of editing and documenting his accounts so contemporary readers can better understand the experiences he describes." -- Kentucky Ancestors

"Porter's passion for his cause and for the preservation of history are clearly evident. He draws the reader into his world of gunpowder and Rebel spirit as he tells of his personal war experiences and incarceration."--Lone Star Book Review

"Kent Masterson Brown...masterfully pieces together the memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter...In the process, Brown provides an accessible version of this significant memoir."--H-Net Reviews

"This is a well-written book with a wealth of details about Kentucky during the Civil War."--Post Library

"One of Morgan's Men will be useful to historians and hobbyists alike as an inside look at the cavalry war fought by John M. Porter."--Northwest Ohio Quarterly

Won the Basil W. Duke Award in 2011.

“Offers a clear glimpse into the mind of a Confederate veteran grappling with defeat, fading glory, and a world irrevocably altered by four years of total warfare.”--Indiana Magazine of History

“Will aid Morgan scholarship and enhance our understanding of the lives of Rebel-sympathizing Kentuckians during guerrilla insurgency.”--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"A very accessible look into the world of Civil War Kentucky and Morgan's raiders."--West Virginia History

"The memoirs. . .provide valuable insight into the daily life and experiences of a junior officer in an obscure corner of the war."--Journal of Southern History

Brown's sound editing should be closely considered and replicated in future projects. The original Porter manuscript suffers from poor grammar and sentence structure, is missing a page, and requires certain gaps to be filled. Incidentally, Brown identifies and documents dozens of references, through what must have been tedious detective work, which is a testament to the book's nearly seventy pages of thorough endnotes. And by skillfully subdividing the memoir into fourteen chapters, each with its own natural flows and breaks, Brown undoubtedly has mad the piece infinitely more readable. Yet he succeeds admirably in allowing Porter's voice to command and direct the narrative. This latter point is crucial because Porter's writings serve as one of the few primary accounts from John Hunt Morgan's famous cavalry command. --Journal of the Civil War Era, Volume 2, Issue 4 -- Andrew F. Lang -- Journal of the Civil War Era