Porter, David Dixon

Porter, David Dixon

Porter, David Dixon, 1813–91, American admiral, b. Chester, Pa.; son of David Porter. He served under his father in the Mexican navy before he was appointed (1829) midshipman in the U.S. navy. He held his first command, the Spitfire, in the Mexican War. From 1850 to 1854, Porter, on leave, commanded passenger and mail ships. In the Civil War he led the mortar flotilla of the Union fleet commanded by David Farragut in the successful assault on New Orleans (1862) and contributed to Ulysses S. Grant's success in the Vicksburg campaign (1863). For these services on the Mississippi River he was made rear admiral. He cooperated (1864) with Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks in the Red River expedition and later was given command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In the joint land-sea expedition against Fort Fisher (1864–65), the naval forces were under his direction. Next to Farragut, Porter was the outstanding Union naval commander. As superintendent (1865–69) of the U.S. Naval Academy he proved himself an able organizer and administrator. Porter was promoted to vice admiral in 1866; in 1870, on Farragut's death, he became full admiral.

Bibliography

See biography by N. B. Gerson (1968).

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Porter, David Dixon

(1813–91) naval officer; born in Chester, Pa. He went to sea at age ten (1823) and served as a midshipman in the Mexican navy (1826–29) before he joined the U.S. Navy (1829). He served as a lieutenant in the Mexican War, and after a furlough (1849–55) he returned to active service and became a commander in the Union navy in 1861. He helped to plan a naval offensive against New Orleans and received the surrender of the Confederate forts there (1862). In command of the Mississippi Squadron (1862–64), he ferried Ulysses S. Grant's army across the Mississippi River, leading to the capture of Vicksburg (1863). He commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron (1864–65) and launched troops to capture Confederate Fort Fisher in Wilmington, N.C. He was superintendent of the Naval Academy (1865–69) and adviser to the secretary of the navy (1869–70). He became a full admiral in 1870 and was the senior American naval officer until his death.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.