CAMP FITZ-JOHN PORTER
On this site in 1862 was erected Camp Fitz-John Porter as a recruit camp for Civil War soldiers. Named after a Union general, it was the initial training ground for Monroe County's 108th and140th New York infantry regiments and Mack's 18th Independent "Black Horse" artillery battery. The camp stretched southwest along Cottage Street between Magnolia and Utica Streets.
Other camps were at the former county fairgrounds nest to what is now Strong Memorial Hospital, just across the river, and at what is now the Rose Garden at Maplewood Park.
From Camp Fitz-John Porter soldiers departed for different theaters of the war: The 108th and 140th to the Army of the Potomac to fight against Lee; Mack's battery to Louisiana.
The 108th for example, had its baptism of fire at the Sunken Road at Antietam, charged up Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, fought near the Chancellor House at Chancellorsville, helped repel Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, was caught up in the savage fighting in the Wilderness, and participated in the siege at Petersburg before pusuing Lee to Appomattox.
The 140th helped turn the tide at the Little Round Top during the second day of fighting at Gettysburg, lost half of its men killed, wounded or lost more men in an equally futile charge at Spotsylvania, fought in the trenches at Petersburg, then helped overwhelm the enemy at Five Forks. It, too, was present at Lee's surrender.
Mack's Battery endured stifling heat and enemy snipers during the siege at Port Hudson and later helped capture Spanish Fort outside Mobile in the last days of the war.
Monroe County sent 10,372 soldiers into the Union ranks. 1,374 of them died of wounds or disease.