In the conduct of tactical operations Butler was almost uniformly unsuccessful, and his first action at Big Bethel, Va., was a humiliating defeat for the National arms. Later in 1861 he commanded an expeditionary force, which, in conjunction with the navy, took Forts Hatteras and Clark, N.C. In 1862 he commanded the force which occupied New Orleans.
The "Virginius" foundered off Cape Hatteras as she was being brought to the United States.
Admiral Porter's three brothers were in the service of the United States: William David Porter (1809-1864) entered the navy in 1823, commanded the "Essex" on the Tennessee and the Mississippi in the Civil War, and became commodore in July 1862; Theodoric Henry Porter (1817-1846) was the first officer of the American army killed in the Mexican War; and Henry Ogden Porter (1823-1872) resigned from the United States navy in 1847, after seven years' service, fought under William Walker in Central America, returned to the American navy, was executive officer of the "Hatteras" when she was sunk by the "Alabama," and received wounds in the action from the effects of which he died several years later.
There had been severalcoastal successes in 1861,notably the occupation of Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina, by Commodore S.H.
"Hatteras" off Galveston, and was finally sunk by the U.S.S.