Brigadier General Horace Porter was born in Pennsylvania on April 15, 1837 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1860 as a Brevet Second Lieutenant of Ordnance.
He served as Secretary to President Grant from 1869 to 1873. General Porter distinguished himself in combat several times during the War Between the States and on June 26, 1902 he was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry at Chickamauga, Georgia on September 20, 1863.
General Porter rallied enough soldiers to hold the ground at a critical moment when the lines were broken under heavy fire - long enough to facilitate the escape of numerous wagon trains and firing batteries. He was awarded five brevets for gallantry, and rose to the grade of brevet brigadier general in 1865.
He was promoted lieutenant colonel and later colonel of volunteers, and later served as aide-de-camp to Generals Grant and Sherman from 1864 to 1873. He was briefly assistant Secretary of War in 1869.
General Porter resigned from service on December 31, 1873 to become the Vice President of the Pullman Car Company. Following his retirement, he served for many years as a railway executive and was active in politics.
He was U.S. Ambassador to France from 1897 to 1905 and was personally responsible for locating the remains of Admiral John Paul Jones in a Paris cemetery and arranging for their return to the United States. For this service he was voted the thanks of Congress and the privileges of the floor of both houses for life. He died on May 27, 1921.