7:30 pm (Berwick Academy)
General Fitz-John Porter was blamed for the bloody Union defeat at Second Bull Run for over 20 years. Then in 1886, President Grover Cleveland restored him to the Army at his former rank. Amateur historian (and retired lawyer) Wayne Soini tracks the successful post-war campaign of Porter's belated-but-key supporters, U.S. General Grant and attorney Joseph Choate, in the quest for his vindication.
Court-martialed in early 1863, Union General Porter sat out the rest of the Civil War in disgrace. After the war, Porter began an epic quest for his vindication, slowly gathering allies, turning enemies into fervent champions one by one, among them General Grant and Joseph Choate.
Porter's Monument in Portsmouth, N.H. (Porter's birthplace) provides clues to why Porter felt justified in making no move on August 29, 1862 in response to an order delivered to him near sunset. The monument, which Porter personally had a role in designing, continues to argue in favor of his bravery and loyalty to the flag.
Wayne Soini recently retired after practicing law for 37 years. Always fascinated by American history, Soini returned to school for a Master's degree in history in 2009 from the University of Massachusetts Boston. He researched his book on General Porter at the New York Historical Society, Massachusetts Historical Society, Rhode Island Historical Society, Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, The Suffolk County Probate Court, Library of Congress microfilm and archives and on site in Haven Park, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, the program will be held on Thursday, October 22, starting at 7:30 pm at Berwick Academy's Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street. The public is invited, and volunteers will serve refreshments. Donations are welcome.
For additional information about our programs and the Counting House check our website www.oldberwick.org or call (207) 384-0000.