Born at Chester, Pennsylvania, June 8, 1813, the son of David and Evelina Anderson Porter. He married Georgie Ann Patterson, March 10, 1839 and they had ten children, including Lieutenant Colonel Carlile Patterson Porter.
He was commissioned Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, 1841, and commanded a landing party of 70 seamen and captured Fort Tabasco, Mexico, in 1847; he commanded the steamer Panama, 1849, and made a voyage through the Straits of Magellan to the Pacific; commanded the privately owned mail steamer Georgia, 1850-52; made regular trips from New York City to Havana; Captain of the ship Golden Age between Melbourne and Sydney for the Australian Steamship Company, 1852-55; First Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Portsmouth Navy Yard, 1857-60; took a prominent part in the preliminary planning of the New Orleans expedition; in command of a mortar flotilla under Admiral Farragut, New Orleans, and on the Mississippi River, 1862; commanded the flets below Forts St. Phillip and Jackson, demanded and accepted their surrender on favorable terms, 1862; served as Acting Rear Admiral, Commander, Mississippi River Squadron, 1862; aided in the assault on and the capture of Arkansas Post; cooperated with General U.S. Grant in the assault on Vicksburg, 1863; commisioned Rear Admiral, 1863, he took charge of the lower Mississippi River as far South as New Orleans; commanded naval forces cooperating with the Army in the Red River Expedition, 1864; commanded naval forces attacking Fort Fisher, 1864-65; with General Terry he captured the defenses of Wilmington, North Carolina; commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 1864; Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, 1865-69; improved the curriculum and instructional methods there; conducted unsuccessful diplomatic negotiations in Santo Domingo to secure cession or lease of Samana Bay, 1866-67; appointed adviser to the Secretary of the Navy by President Grant, 1869-70; instituted a reform policy, organized boards to inspect the fleets and navy yards, began to repair many vessels; promted to Full Admiral, 1870; chosen to command the fleet assembled at Key West, 1873; head of The Board of Inspection And Survey, 1877-91.
He died at Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1891. He is buried in Section 2, Grave 55, of Arlington National Cemetery, not far from his grandson, Major General David Dixon Porter and his great-granddaughter, Carlie Patterson Porter.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard