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MCHARG FAMILY PAPERS: PART 2

The McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 contain a small number of documents related to U.S. Civil War officer Horace Porter, financier and railroad president Henry K. McHarg, and Civil War assistant quartermaster of volunteers John McHarg. Porter married into the McHarg family during the Civil War. The McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 further document the history of the Porter and McHarg families and supplement the McHarg Family Papers: Part 1 already preserved in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division. The McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 are comprised of 3 boxes (3.25 linear feet) of material.

The most noted document in the McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 is a commission dated August 7, 1861, signed by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Simon Cameron. The commission appoints John McHarg Assistant Quartermaster of Volunteers with the rank of Captain. John McHarg's lengthy and substantial letters home to his family in Albany, New York describing his experiences during the Civil War are retained in the McHarg Family Papers: Part 1.

Also of note in the McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 are items concerning Henry K. McHarg's career as a financier and a railroad executive. Specifically, two annual reports, one printed map, and one photograph derive from Henry K. McHarg's tenure as president of the Detroit and Mackinac Railway Company. In addition, one rare book and one printed item are tied directly to his service as a director and a vice-president of the Bank of the Manhattan Company.

Moreover, several Horace Porter items are found in the McHarg Family Papers: Part 2. One letter from Porter to his brother-in-law Henry K. McHarg is preserved. A few newspaper clippings regarding Porter are also retained.

Rounding out the collection is a typed manuscript providing genealogical information on the McHarg Family. All in all, the McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 offer scholars a few more relevant bits of historical information about the McHarg and Porter families, both of which played important roles in the Civil War and the U.S. foreign service.

Several other manuscript collections in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division are related to the McHarg Family Papers: Part 2 in addition to the McHarg Family Papers: Part 1. The Horace Porter Collection contains documents and artifacts relating to the career of Horace Porter. The Byington Family Papers consist of the papers of noted Civil War journalist A. Homer Byington, his grandson Homer M. Byington I, and Homer M. Byington II.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES:

John McHarg (1813-1884) served in the Union army during the American Civil War. He was the son of William McHarg (1778-1865) and Sophie (King) McHarg. John McHarg married Martha Whipple Patch and had four children, including Henry King McHarg (1851-1941) and Sophie King McHarg (1840-1903), who married Horace Porter (1837-1921). John McHarg was appointed Assistant Quartermaster General of Volunteers at the outset of the Civil War. He saw duty in Arlington, Virginia; the Peninsular Campaign; and Frederick, Maryland. John's letter's home to his family in Albany, New York describing his Civil War experiences are preserved in the McHarg Family Papers: Part 1.

(Source: McHarg Family Papers: Part 1, Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division, Washington, D. C.)

Henry King McHarg (1851-1941) was a noted financier. Born in Albany, New York, he was the son of a wholesale dry goods merchant. His sister was the wife of General Horace Porter. Henry McHarg received schooling at the Albany academy, private schools, and Walnut Hill School, the boarding school of Reverend Thomas C. Reeds in Geneva, New York. At age fifteen, Henry became a clerk in the banking firm of Lockwood & Company in New York City. In time, McHarg worked his way up the financial ladder. In 1872, he bought a seat in the New York stock exchange, selling it in 1927. Among other achievements, he formed the brokerage firm of Adams & McHarg, invested heavily in railroads, served as president of the Virginia Iron, Coal, & Coke Company, and became a leading banker.

(Source: The National Cyclopedia of American Biography. Vol. 29. New York: James T. White, 1941, p. 14. See also: McHarg Family Papers: Part 1, Georgetown University Library, Special Collections Division, Washington, D. C.)

Horace Porter (1837-1921), distinguished Union army officer, is remembered as a staff officer and biographer of General Ulysses S. Grant. Born on April 15, 1837, in Huntington, Pennsylvania, the son of Governor David Rittenhouse Porter (1788-1867) and Josephine (McDermet) Porter, Horace Porter graduated from West Point in 1860. In 1863, Horace Porter married Sophie King McHarg (1840-1903), daughter of William McHarg (1778-1865) and Sophie (King) McHarg. Horace Porter was the brother-in-law of Henry K. McHarg.

At the outset of the Civil War, Porter was a brevet second lieutenant in the ordnance department. Receiving promotions for his service, he advanced in the ordnance department, seeing duty on the South Carolina coast and then during the Peninsular Campaign. Later, during the battle of Chickamagua, as ordnance chief for the Army of the Cumberland, Porter regrouped a broken line and bought time for retreat. For that action he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1902. After impressing Grant during the Chattanooga Campaign, Porter joined Grant's staff as aide de camp on April 4, 1864. He was breveted for Fort Pulaski, the Wilderness, New Market Heights, and war service (Brigadier General). Porter remained in the army after the Civil War, continuing as an aide to Grant and General William T. Sherman until resigning in 1873.

Entering civilian life, Porter pursued the career of a railroad official. In 1897, his book "Campaigning With Grant" was published. From 1897 until 1905, Porter held the post of U.S. Ambassador to France. Documents and artifacts pertaining to Porter's career are preserved in the Horace Porter Collection in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Division.

(Sources: Manuscript biographical sketch in McHarg Family Papers: Part 1: Box 1 Folder 62; Boatner, Mark Mayo, III. "The Civil War Dictionary." New York: McKay, 1988, p. 661-2; Sifakas, Stewart. "Who Was Who in the Civil War." New York: Facts On File, 1988, p. 516. See also: Mende, Elsie Porter. "An American Soldier and Diplomat." New York: Stokes, 1927; Porter, Horace. "Campaigning With Grant." New York: Century, 1897).

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ACCESSION DATA: Status: Open to researchers. Photocopies: Permitted except for those documents which are too fragile. Provenance: Gift of Kathy Raines, August 2001. Processed by Scott S. Taylor, September 2001.

BULK DATES: 1856 - 1928
SPAN DATES: 1856 - 1992

EXTENT: 3 boxes (3.25 l.f.)



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