Southern Cross of Honor Lieutenant Colonel James D. Porter Chief of Staff Cheatham's Division
Item #: WR612
This is a Southern Cross of Honor presented to James D. Porter. The Southern Cross of Honor was created by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and established in 1898. It was bestowed upon Confederate veterans who displayed "Loyal and Honorable service to the South". The medal was first issued in 1900. James Davis Porter was born on 7 December, 1828 in Paris, Tennessee. He attended the University of Nashville and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1846, and a Master of Arts in 1849. Porter went on to study law at Cumberland University and under his future father in law, John Dunlap, in Paris Tennessee. James D. Porter was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1851. He married his mentor's daughter, Susannah Dunlap, that same year. He began a law practice in Paris, Tennessee. He also became involved in politics, and was elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1859. When Tennessee seceded from the Union, Porter received a commission as a Major and was assigned as the Adjutant General under Brigadier General Gideon J Pillow. There he helped organize the Provisional Army of Tennessee. When this army was incorporated into the Confederate Army, Porter was assigned as the Chief of Staff for Major General Benjamin F Cheatham, a position he held for the remainder of the war. During his service with the Confederate Army Davis was involved in the Battles of Belmont, Shiloh, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, the Atlanta Campaign, the Battle of Nashville, Franklin and the Carolina Campaign. James D Porter attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before his unit was surrendered in April, 1865. After the war Porter returned to his law practice. He served as the Judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit of Tennessee for four years. James D Porter served as the 20th Governor of Tennessee from 18 January, 1875 until 16 February, 1879. He was a strong supporter of education. He used his influence to to have a school being established for teachers to be attached to the University of Nashville. Porter remained active after his governorship, serving as the President of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St Louis Railway from 1880 to 1884. in 1885 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State by President Grover Cleveland. in 1893, during Cleveland's second term of office, Porter was appointed as the US Minister to Chile. He spent the latter part of his life promoting and raising funds for the University of Nashville. He became Chancellor of the University of Nashville in 1901, and President of Peabody College in 1902. One of the most notable achievements of Porter occurred when he was serving as the Governor of Tennessee. He served as one of the pall bearers for the funeral of Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest. This Southern Cross differs from the normal one encountered because of the header. This one is twice as large as normal, and is engraved in four lines "JAS.D. PORTER/ADJUTANT GEN'L/Cheatham's Division/1861-65. It is housed in a small riker case and accompanied by a three ring binder full of research and information of James Davis Porter. If you collect Southern Crosses, this could very well be the center piece of your collection.
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