Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PORTERFIELD, Charles, soldier, born in Fredcrick county, Virginia, in 1750; died on Santee river, South Carolina, in October, 1780. He became a member of the first company that was raised in Frederick county in 1775 for service in the Revolutionary war, of which Daniel Morgan was elected captain, marched to Cambridge, near Boston, and soon afterward joined in the expedition against Quebec, and was made prisoner in the attempt on that fortress. The assailing column, to which he belonged, was under the command of Colonel Arnold. When that officer was wounded and carried from the ground, Porter-field, with Morgan, rushing forward, passed the first and second barriers. After being exchanged he re-entered the service as captain in the rifle-corps of Colonel Morgan and participated in all the battles in which it was engaged during the campaigns of 1777-'8. In 1779 he was appointed by Governor Jefferson lieutenant-colonel of a Virginia regiment that had been equipped mainly at his own expense, with which, in the spring of 1780, he marched to the relief of Charleston, South Carolina He remained in South Carolina and joined the army of General Gates a few days before the battle of Camden. His command formed part of the advanced guard of Gates's army, and unexpectedly met that of the enemy about one o'clock A. M. on 16 August, a moonlight night. While making a gallant resistance and holding the enemy in check, he received a mortal wound, his left leg being shattered just below the knee. He was carried from the field, remained ten days without surgical attention, and was then taken in a cart twelve miles to Camden where the required amputation was performed. While a prisoner in Camden he was treated with great kindness and attention by both Lord Cornwallis and Lord Rawdon, who supplied all his wants, He was paroled, but died from the effects of his wound.--His brother, Robert, soldier, born in Frederick county, Virginia, 22 February, 1752; died in Augusta county, Virginia, 13 February, 1843, was appointed a lieutenant in Captain Peter B. Bruin's company of Continental troops in Winchester, Virginia, in 1776, served in Colonel Daniel Morgan's regiment through the campaigns of 1777-'9, the last year was aide to General William Woodford, and was in the battles of the Brandywine, Germantown, and Monmouth. He accompanied General Woodford to the south in December, 1779, and participated in the siege of Charleston, South Carolina, where he was surrendered a prisoner of war in May, 1780. He was appointed a brigadier-general of Virginia militia during the war of 1812, and commanded at Camp Holly, Virginia General Porterfield was a county magistrate for more than fifty years, and was twice high-sheriff.
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