David Porter is remembered by all Americans as the naval officer who, in command of the United States Frigate Essex, in the War of 1812,was overwhelmed, defeated, and captured by two British frigates in a harbor of a neutral country, Chili. But though defeated, the career of the Essex under his command was so helpful and gratifying to the American cause that he received unstinted praise and applause from his countrymen. Eleven years after this Commodore Porter was court-martialed on charges of disobedience of orders, insubordinate conduct, and conduct unbecoming a naval officer; was convicted, and sentenced to be suspended from duty for a term of six months. Smarting from what he considered an injustice, he resigned, and accepted service with the newly created Republic of Mexico as commander-in-chief of its navy. He remained in this position for four years; it was productive of nothing but disappointment. In 1830, a year after his return to the United States, President Andrew Jackson sent him to Constantinople as the American diplomatic representative, where he remained until his death in 1843.
The Court-Martial of Commodore David Porter
By Lieut.-Commander Edward L. Beach, U.S. Navy