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The Manuscript
Additional material

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These pages are an electronic version of the manuscript:

 "EARLY DAYS OF PITTSBURG, TEXAS 1859-1874: Life of John C. Porter and Sketch of His Experiences in the Civil War," John C. Porter, 42 pp., March 29, 1874.

Porter (1844-1920) described his family and early life in the upper part of Upshur County (now Camp County), Texas, then elaborated his diary of experiences during the Civil War. He entered the war as a Private in Company H, 18th Texas Infantry, and made 3rd Sergeant by the time of his release in 1864. The 18th Texas Infantry was assigned to harass Union forces on the western side of the Mississippi River, in support of the Confederate defense of Vicksburg.

The wider story of the campaign of the 18th Texas Infantry can be found in:

TEXANS IN GRAY: A regimental history of the Eighteenth Texas Infantry, Walker's Texas Division in the Civil War, edited by James Henry Davis, 1999.[1]

Davis combined firsthand accounts by Sgt. John C. Porter, Col. Thos. R. Bonner [2] and Col. William B. Ochiltree [3] of the 18th Texas Infantry, adding maps, illustrations and modern place names to aid the reader.

The epilogue was added by Porter's eldest daughter, Dorothy Annie Porter Tittle (1872-1938) [4] after his death.

The sums of money mentioned in the book would be about fourteen times greater now. One dollar in 1863 would be equivalent to about $14 in 2001[5].

Viewing the pages

At the top and bottom of each page are navigation bars with the following links:

  • Go to Page   provides a table of page numbers for going directly to a page if the page number is known.

  • Index   goes to a choice of the first letter of the name of interest, then to that section of the index.

  • Contents   goes to the online-contents page which lists names of major subjects.

  • Page-   moves backward by one page number.

  • Page+   moves forward by one page number.  The entire book can be viewed sequentially using these Page links.

The Manuscript

The surviving J. C. Porter manuscript is a typed version held by the Pittsburg-Camp County Public Library, Pittsburg, Texas. The original was a handwritten version in 1874, an elaboration of Porter's diary that he carried during the war. (See a reference to the diary on p. 26) Location of the original manuscript and diary is unknown.

These electronic pages are based on a photocopy of the typed manuscript obtained from the Library in 2001. The typed pages were converted by optical character recognition and word-by-word proofing, with the assistance of the librarians if a word was unclear. Porter's manuscript is presented verbatim in these online pages, with the exception of a few additional paragraph breaks for readability. Page numbering has been preserved so that references to the typed manuscript will be valid.

Additional material

Additional features are:

  • A land map showing the Porter homestead, 1110 acres granted to Porter's father, Benjamin Phillips Porter, in 1848.

  • The Index, with links to the pages.

  • A table of contents listing major topics as they occur in the text.

  • A few clarifying notes (within square brackets) from information from Davis 1999, the online web site RandysTexas by Randy Howald, and Handbook of Texas Online by the Texas State Historical Association.


Appreciation is due librarians Mrs. Faye McMinn and Ms. Nancy Dunlap of the Pittsburg-Camp County Public Library, for assistance with the manuscript and inquiries about the Porter family. The manuscript will join an increasing number of freely available reference works on the Internet. Even small rural schools are beginning to get Internet service, which eventually will give them a virtual library much larger than they could otherwise afford.


In answer to my query of January, 2001, the Pittsburg-Camp County Public Library reported that the last surviving member of the Porter family had died and that the manuscript was believed to be in the public domain.

Independently, the author James Henry Davis[1] contacted Mr. Lacy Davis, Postmaster of Pittsburg, Texas, who determined there were no surviving family members and the J. C. Porter manuscript could be used in a book.

Web page maintenance

The safest way to correct an online work is to use a plain-text editor (e.g., Windows Notepadtm) that can change a page's content without altering the HTML. Commercial web-preparation programs insulate the user from HTML details, but often rewrite the original HTML to their current proprietary level without the user's knowledge. The uploaded web page then looks fine on the same browser, but may not look the same on other browsers.

Simply uploading a corrected web page from a personal computer to a server can be damaging. The safest way is to use a file-transfer program (e.g., WS_FTPtm) that provides a "binary transfer" for images and a "raw ASCII" option that does not alter the HTML. Some Internet browsers provide an upload option, but may reformat the page in their proprietary HTML in the process without the user's knowledge.

H. David Maxey - 2001


  1. TEXANS IN GRAY: A regimental history of the Eighteenth Texas Infantry, Walker's Texas Division in the Civil War, edited by James Henry Davis, Heritage Oak Press, Tulsa, OK, illus., 210 pp., 1999. LCCCN 93-079082, ISBN 0-9630768-8-4. Referenced herein as "Davis 1999."

  2. Lester Newton Fitzhugh, "BONNER, THOMAS REUBEN," Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

  3. Robert Bruce Blake, "OCHILTREE, WILLIAM BECK," Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

  4. Rosalyn Rutledge Alsobrook, "The J. C. Porter Family", 2001. Genealogical compilation from Rosalyn Alsobrook ( rosalyn@etex.net ).

  5. Inflation calculator at https://www.westegg.com/inflation/ by S. Morgan Friedman, based on Historical Statistics of the United States, colonial times to 1970, Washington: U. S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1975.

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Life of John C. Porter and Sketch of His Experiences in the Civil War

John C. Porter 1874