Summer of History in Valparaiso

My Bird Eye View of my Hometown History

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David Dixon Porter

For my last project the director of the Historical Society gave me a book and said he needed information for the Civil War exhibit. He said to read through the book over the weekend so once I got back home I started to read the book and realized it was written about David Dixon Porter’s father, not David Dixon Porter. I brought it to the attention of the director of the museum and he was shock and said I should look up the information on David Dixon Porter on Google and for the book on the Commodore David Porter could be worked on to expand the exhibit at the museum on the Commodore. So I went on Google scholar to do some research David Dixon Porter and here is what I discovered. David Dixon Porter was one of the most important naval figures during the Civil War. He came from a long line of naval officers. His father was Commodore David Porter of The War of 1812.  David Dixon Porter would start as a midshipman and would later be the second created Admiral of the US Navy. If you’re wondering who the first admiral was that person was Porter’s adopted brother David Glasgow Farragut. David Dixon Porter was forty-five and was in the navy for thirty years with the rank of Lieutenant when hostilities increased between the North and the South. After the election of Abraham Lincoln, Porter did not believe that there would be not a war to provide a career opportunity. During the start up of the Civil War, Porter was involved in the Powhatan affair where David Dixon Porter had a disagreement with his superior officers on evacuating Ft. Pickens which was being attacked by confederate rebels. But nothing could restrain Porter from liberating Fort Pickens in Pensacola, Florida. In April of 1863, General Grant decided to attack Vicksburg which he discovered that the only thing that was preventing him from capturing the confederate town of Vicksburg. Porter would play a supporting role in the Battle of Vicksburg on the assault to perfection. Porter ran his boats into the batteries which in my opinion was militarily a gutsy move because he did not lose any boats and minimal loss of life. Porter’s job in the battle plan was to bombard confederate fortification for forty day bombardment on the West Mississippi River side of the Vicksburg boarder where Generals Grant and Sherman would attack from the east. The Battle of Vicksburg was a success for the Union. It was because of Porter’s actions at the Battle of Vicksburg he would forever be known in the history books military as the Hero of Vicksburg. It was because of Porter along with his adoptive brothers were created rear admiral of the Navy which was created by Congress. After the Civil War in September 1865 Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles appointed David Dixon Porter Superintendent of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. As Superintendent he set about modernizing the curriculum at the Naval Academy. Some of the reforms Admiral Porter put in place are still in practice in the Naval Academy today.

Source: Ritter Charles F, Wakelyn Jon L. Leaders of the American Civil War: A Biographical and Historiographical Dicitionary pgs 322-329 

Filed under Navy Vicksburg Admiral US Naval Academy

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