- Major General John Porter McCown was born in Tennessee in 1815, and graduated at West Point in 1840, with commission as second lieutenant of Fourth artillery. He served in the removal of the Indians to the West in 1840, and on the frontier during the Canada border disturbances, 1840-41; in the military occupation of Texas, 1845-46, and in the Mexican war, 1846-47, being engaged in the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, and in the assault and capture of the City of Mexico. He was brevetted captain for gallant and meritorious conduct at Cerro Gordo.
After the Mexican war he served in various capacities, part of the time on frontier duty on the Rio Grande, being engaged in several skirmishes. On the 9th of January, 1851, he was commissioned captain of the Fourth artillery. He also served in Florida against the Seminole Indians, 1856-57.
When Tennessee seceded and cast her lot with the Confederacy, he resigned his commission and was made lieutenant colonel of artillery in the Confederate army. His promotion was rapid; to colonel in May, 1861, brigadier-general, October, 1861, and major- general, March 1862. At the time of the battle of Belmont, General McCown was sent up the east bank of the Mississippi with a force of infantry and artillery. He found no enemy threatening Polk's position, and the information thus obtained enabled Polk to send men enough across the river to insure victory at Belmont. He commanded at New Madrid in March, 1862, but was assigned to duty elsewhere before the investment of that post by General Pope. June 20, 1862, he was assigned to command of the army of the West, Van Dorn taking department command. He was send to take command at Chattanooga just before the advance of Bragg to that point in 1862. He had command of a division in the army of Kentucky under Kirby Smith, and for a while in the fall of 1862, had charge of the department of East Tennessee. At Murfreesboro he and Cleburne formed the right of Hardee's corps, which fell upon McCook with such impetuosity as to sweep completely that part of the field, driving the Union left a distance of four miles, capturing cannon, small-arms, and thousands of prisoners. McCown's infantry and Wheeler's cavalry are spoken of in the reports as killing, wounding or capturing half the force in their front. Throughout the war McCown performed to the satisfaction of his superiors whatever duties fell to his lot.
At the close of hostilities he settled near Knoxville and engaged in school-teaching. He afterward settled at Little Rock, Ark., where he died January 22, 1879.
Joe Chilton GEDCOM, 7 November 1994.
"Sevier County, Tennessee and Its Heritage", 1994, p 32, 35.
Evans, Clement, ed. Confederate Military History, Vol. XII, Confederate Publishing Company, Atlanta, GA, 1899