John Porter McCown

Headstones: Find-a-Grave

John Porter McCown was born near Sevierville, Tennessee, August 19, 1815, and was graduated from West Point in 1840. He won a brevet at the battle of Cerro Gordo in the Mexican War, and resigned his captain's commission in the 4th Artillery on May 17, 1861 to enter Confederate service as colonel of the Tennessee Artillery Corps. Promoted brigadier general on October 12, 1861, and major general from March 10, 1862, he was present at Belmont, New Madrid (before Pope's investment of that place), and Fort Pillow; he also temporarily commanded the Army of the West in June 1862. Later he was in command in East Tennessee, and his division launched the attack of Bragg's army at the battle of Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862. Bragg preferred charges against him, in February 1863, for disobedience of orders; he had previously reported to the War Department that McCown was unfit for responsible command. The greater part of his division was ordered to Mississippi in May 1863, and General McCown served out the balance of the war in relative obscurity. In April 1865 he defended a crossing of the Catawba River near Morganton, North Carolina, with a single piece of artillery and 300 men against a division of cavalry under Brigadier General Alvan C. Gillem, U.S.A. After the war he taught school in Tennessee for a time, later removing to a farm near Magnolia, Arkansas. He died in Little Rock, January 22, 1879, while attending a meeting of the Masonic Lodge. He is buried in Magnolia.

Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.

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