John Luke Porter, first president of the Portsmouth common council, was born just two blocks south of here. An accomplished naval constructor, commissioned first by the United States and later by the Confederacy, Porter supervised, at the Norfolk Navy Yard, the conversion of the frigate Merrimac to the ironclad CSS Virginia. On 8 March 1862, the Virginia rammed and sank USS Cumberland and destroyed USS Congress at Newport News. The next day Virginia fought a historic but inconclusive battle with USS Monitor in nearby Hampton Roads, in the world’s first naval combat between ironclads. Porter later became chief naval constructor for the Confederacy, designing 21 ironclads. He died in Portsmouth.
Geographic Location: Portsmouth
Physical Description of Location: 101 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704.
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