Porter, David

Porter, David (1780-1843) US Naval Officer: Porter was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 1, 1780, to a family of with a history of naval service. Porter made voyages to the West Indies, was impressed twice by British ships-of-war, but was able to escape and work his way home. Entering the US Navy as a midshipman in 1798, he received a prize for his service and became a lieutenant. He was wounded in 1800, when his schooner, the Experiment, was attacked. After several successful defeats of privateers, Porter's ship captured the French schooner Diane. In 1801, the ship to which he was attached, the schooner "Enterprise," defeated a Tripolitan cruiser after three hours of fighting. In October 1802, Porter was captured and imprisoned in Tripoli until peace between the states of Northern Africa and the United States was declared. At the beginning of the War of 1812, he was in command of the frigate Essex, which sailed from New York. Attacked by the British ship Alert on August 13, 1812, the crew of the Essex were able to capture the British war vessel. This was the first British warship taken in the War of 1812. Having become a captain in 1812, Porter spent the following year attacking the English whale fishery in the Pacific, nearly destroying it; and capturing the Marquesas Islands. His frigate was taken by the British in 1814, off the coast of Valparaíso. After his war, he commanded a naval effort against piracy in the West Indies from 1823 to 1825. Resigning in 1826, he went on to command the Mexican Navy. Porter was appointed consul-general to the nations of North Africa, known as the "Barbary States"; and later became Minister to Constantinople. He died in Pera, near Constantinople, on March 3, 1843.