Tea and taxes are quickly cited as the reason colonial America broke away from England. It was the cause of 'Free Trade and Sailors Rights' which sustained an infant force of iron men, who gladly served aboard the few wooden ships, of the Continental Navy. Davy Porter, in a lifetime of fights and feuds, shares the courage of ancestors who earned their name during the Holy Crusades, with warriors of the New World. He nurtured and honed his own generation into naval legends such as his stepson, David Glasgow Farragut. Maritime giants from history's John Paul Jones, to fiction's Horatio Hornblower, share his brand of heroism. 'Midshipman Porter In Harms Way', begins on a morning in 1786 with the boom of a cannon blast. Its echo swirled across the still waters of Chesapeake Bay through layered mist shrouding Baltimore harbor on the Maryland mainland. Its sound hastened the hearts of all within hearing, including a very young Davy Porter clutching his mother's dress awaiting the arrival of Captain David Porter... Fast Forward a dozen years to this exchange, following the last shots fired in the so-called Quasi-War with France. Before the guns stopped recoiling, 'Experiment' spun about to discharge a second salvo from her port guns. Again the roar blanketed out the sound of the squall bursting about them. In less than a minute, in the time it took for her to change course, her starboard gun crews were ready again. She loosed another broadside into the stalled mystery ship, in irons and dead in the water, trailing her bowsprit at the head. "Hold fire, hold fire," screamed Porter, leaped into the waist, shoving an aroused Stewart to one side. "She flies British colors," Thunderstruck, Stewart whirled about to peer at the Union Jack flapping against holed sails and whips of severed rigging. "Damn, damn, damn - and we had her, boys, by the cobblers." In the sudden hush, a plaintive voiced carried with the wind to identify the ship as the privateer 'Louisa Bridger', a vessel under letter of marque from Bermuda. An apology for the error of discharging the first shot fired, followed and a request, for the loan of hands for the pumps. They were hulled and sounded four feet of water. "Holy Jesus, what a mess," the contrite Stewart muttered, sending off a boat to assist. "What am I going to do about this one, Mr. Brains ?" "Hmmn," pondered Porter, a glint of malice in his eyes. "The powers that be are not going to be too happy about this. I suggest you go aboard, hat in hand and apologize." "Apologize! After they shot at us first," protested Stewart, his face matching his hair. "That's right. Apologize for 'Experiment's' -- good shooting!" "Aye, that's right. We did good, eh. Might's well let them not forget about it." Stewart, chameleon-like, rubbed his hands together in glee. The answer would pacify the politicians, without detracting from his ability.
Author: Jack M. D. Owen
Title: Midshipman Porter In Harms Way
Series: The Porter Saga
First Published by: Old Book Shop Publication
Date: 2 September 2013