David Dixon Porter obtained an official appointment as midshipman in the US Navy through his grandfather, US Congressman William Anderson. The appointment was dated February 2, 1829, when he was sixteen years of age; this was somewhat older than most midshipmen, who tended to be taken in as boys. Due to his relative maturity and experience, greater than that of most naval lieutenants, Porter tended to be cocky and challenge some of his superiors, leading to conflict. Except for intervention by Commodore James Biddle, who acted favorably because Porter's father was a hero, his warrant as a midshipman would not have been renewed.
Porter's last duty as a midshipman was on frigate USS United States, flagship of Commodore Daniel Patterson, from June 1832 until October 1834. Patterson's family accompanied him, including his daughter, George Ann ("Georgy"). The two young people renewed their acquaintance and became engaged. After Porter returned home, he completed the examination for passed midshipman, and soon after was assigned to duty in the Coast Survey. There, his pay was such that he could save enough to marry.
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