Civil War Union Navy Admiral. He was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, the son of David Porter, who was a distinguished naval officer and hero of the War of 1812, and was also a diplomat. He first went to sea with his father at age 11, on a mission to fight pirates in the West Indies. He later served for a short time as a Junior Officer in the Mexican Navy. At the age of 13 he was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy. As a teen, he served on the warship Congress. His assignments were varied, but advancement was slow in peacetime service. He had mastered his profession and longed for action, but with none in sight he made no secret of his intent to leave the navy and seek an outlet for his talents elsewhere. The secession crisis changed his plans. On April 1, 1861, he eagerly accepted command of the Powhatan and of the naval portion of an expedition to relieve Florida's Fort Pickens. He and the Powhatan remained in the Gulf of Mexico during the first year of the war. Early in 1862 he began preliminary plans for the capture of New Orleans and assumed command of a mortar flotilla during the assault on the city. He also received the surrender of Forts Jackson and St. Philip after the fleet had run by them. In October 1862 he took command of the Mississippi Squadron and assumed responsibility for the Mississippi and other waterways north of Vicksburg. In cooperation with the Federal army he was involved in the capture of Arkansas Post in January 1863 and then Vicksburg in July. For the latter action he was promoted to Rear Admiral, and given the responsibility of the Mississippi River system north of New Orleans. After a courageous performance in the abortive Red River Campaign of spring 1864, he went east to command the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In several assaults on Fort Fisher he commanded the largest American fleet ever before assembled. The capture of the fort and defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina, closed his combat service in the war. For this action he receivied his third Thanks of Congress. Immediately after the war he became Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy. In this service and later with the Navy Department, where he served as head of the Inspection Board from 1877 to 1891, he stressed professionalism and rewarded active service. He was made an Admiral in 1870, making him the navy's senior officer. He was active with his beloved navy until his death in Washington D.C. He was the brother of Commodore William D. Porter and the cousin of General Fitz John Porter. His adopted brother was Admiral David G. Farragut. Ironically he rests not far from his namesake and grandson, Major General David Dixon Porter, who was a Medal of Honor Recipient. Although his tombstone bears the inscription "temporarily erected," that same stone has been adequate for more than 100 years.
United States Navy Rear Admiral. He became a midshipman in the United States Navy on April 1, 1828 and was assigned to the frigate "USS Guerriere", of the Pacific Squadron. The following year he was on the receiving ship at Norfolk and on the "USS Natchez" in the Brazil Squadron in 1834. On June 14, 1834 he was promoted to Passed Midshipman and was assigned to the frigate "USS Potomac" of the Mediterranean Squadron. In 1839 he was transferred to the frigate "USS Columbia", stationed in the East India Squadron and promoted to Lieutenant on March 25, 1839. His next assignment was on the sloop Decatur in the Brazil Squadron in 1843. By 1846 he was assigned to the Norfolk Navy yard and was promoted to commander on December 15, 1855. In 1862 he was appointed Commander and Fleet Captain of the Western Gunboat Flotilla at the United States Depot in Cairo, Illinois. He was promoted to Captain on January 2, 1863 and was ordered to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and in early 1868 was appointed the commanding officer of the frigate "USS Franklin", then the flag ship of the European Squadron. He was promoted to Commodore on May 6, 1868 and assumed command of the European Squadron. On July 19, 1872 he was promoted to Rear Admiral. His last assignment was as commanding officer of the Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire.