Porter, David Dixon, 1813–91, American admiral, b. Chester, Pa.; son of David Porter. He served under his father in the Mexican navy before he was appointed (1829) midshipman in the U.S. navy. He held his first command, the Spitfire, in the Mexican War. From 1850 to 1854, Porter, on leave, commanded passenger and mail ships. In the Civil War he led the mortar flotilla of the Union fleet commanded by David Farragut in the successful assault on New Orleans (1862) and contributed to Ulysses S. Grant's success in the Vicksburg campaign (1863). For these services on the Mississippi River he was made rear admiral. He cooperated (1864) with Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks in the Red River expedition and later was given command of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. In the joint land-sea expedition against Fort Fisher (1864–65), the naval forces were under his direction. Next to Farragut, Porter was the outstanding Union naval commander. As superintendent (1865–69) of the U.S. Naval Academy he proved himself an able organizer and administrator. Porter was promoted to vice admiral in 1866; in 1870, on Farragut's death, he became full admiral.
See biography by N. B. Gerson (1968).