Detail of a bas relief panel on the Fitz John Porter monument in Portsmouth by sculptor James E. Kelly. Porter, on horseback at left, commanding at the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862, a Union victory. Shown on horseback at right is Brig. Gen. Thomas Francis Meagher.

WHEN FORMER Civil War Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter passed away in Morristown, New Jersey, on May 21, 1901, the city of Portsmouth, N.H., had received a $30,000 bequest to erect an equestrian monument in his honor. In 1902, the city established a committee to oversee the project and it contracted with James E. Kelly, a New York City sculptor, to create the bronze statue and bas-relief plaques for its granite base.

In considering an appropriate site for the monument, the committee was open to suggestions from the public. Among the locations proposed were Market Square, Church Hill (near St. John’s Episcopal Church), Haymarket Square, and Haven Park. The most popular spot mentioned was Haven Park, a new public park located between Pleasant Street and South Mill Pond. Before it was moved across Livermore Street in 1899, the house where Porter had been born and had spent his early childhood had been located on the site.

Aurore Eaton is a historian and writer in Manchester, contact her at or at