An engrossing biography of a Civil War naval hero. Ideal reading for those who have enjoyed the books of William C. Davis, Bruce Catton and Craig L. Symonds.
David Dixon Porter was the father of the modern United States Navy.
He was son of the distinguished naval leader, Commodore Porter, and his adoptive brother was the famous Union Admiral, David G. Farragut. Yet, it was not through nepotism that David Dixon Porter was able to rise to the top of the US Navy.
His seamanship abilities first became apparent during the Mexican-American War when he planned and participated in the assault on Vera Cruz.
The outbreak of the American Civil War allowed Porter to further demonstrate his brilliance as a naval strategist. Utilising massed firepower he neutralized Confederate forts in the Mississippi River delta and his strategies proved particularly effective during the battle of New Orleans and the siege of Vicksburg.
During the course of over sixty years in naval service Porter never stopped looking for ways to innovate. Some of his most influential inventions include a new form of mobile torpedo, a floating battery with armor plating and underwater explosives, and a steel bowsprit that could be attached to a wooden steamer to convert it into a ram. Even after the war ended Porter continued to reform the navy, becoming Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and implementing changes that are still influential to this day.
Noel B. Gerson’s book, Yankee Admiral, uncovers the remarkable life of this naval innovator who is often overshadowed by Admirals Farragut and Dewey, but who undoubtedly deserves admiration as one of America’s most influential and courageous sailors.