A 2010 inquiry on the Trapdoor Collector Discussion Board first brought Lieut. James E. Porter to our attention. Cathy Long was asking for information on a commemorative rifle in her possession. According to Long it was for "1st Lieut. James E. Porter I Co. 7th US Cavalry. On the other side of the barrel is Born in Strong, Maine 1847 and Commissioned, 2nd, Lieut, 7th, Cav. June 1869 Underneath by the trigger says Missing in Action with Indians., June 25, 1876 Little Big Horn River MT".
A bit of online research revealed more of the story of 1st Lieutenant James Ezekiel Porter.
A biography posted on GENI.COM reads:
James Ezekiel Porter (February 2, 1847-June 25, 1876) was one of General Custer's officers killed at the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer's Last Stand.
James E. Porter was born in Strong, Maine, in 1846. He attended Bates College (called the Maine State Seminary until 1863) from 1862–1863 and then Norwich University from 1863-1864. Porter was then appointed to West Point and graduated in 1869. He received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment upon graduation. In 1872, Porter became a 1st lieutenant and was assigned to Troop I. He participated in 'The Plains' Indian warfare from 1869 to 1876. On June 25, 1876, James Porter was killed in the Battle of the Little Bighorn under Brevet General Custer.
This, in turn, led us to a Wikipedia.com entry for James Porter (7th Cavalry) which provides further details about his family, military career, and death at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
It is believed that Porter's unidentified remains were buried where they had been found on the battlefield.
Since it was not known precisely where he had died, there was originally no marker with his name on it. In 1910 a marker with Porter's name was shipped to the battlefield. The placement of that marker was near where most of the bodies of his company (Company I) had been found. A Find a Grave Memorial commemorates his death.
In addition to his marker at Little Bighorn Battlefield, Lieut. James E. Porter has a cenotaph on the end of the gravestone of his parents - Jeremy Wyman Porter (9 Nov. 1820-26 Apr. 1904) and Rachel Hunter Porter (09 Jan. 1827-01 Apr. 1890).
His cenotaph reads Lieut., James E. Porter, Jan. 12, 1847., Killed Custer Massacre, June 25, 1876.