Edward Preble was born at Falmouth, Eastern Massachusetts, now Portland, Maine, 15 August 1761. In 1779 he was appointed to the Massachusetts State Marine, becoming an officer in the 26 gun ship Protector. Becoming a British prisoner, when that ship was captured in 1781, he was held for a time in prison ship New Jersey. On his release, he served in Winthrop and led a boarding party to capture a British brig at Castine and worked it out to sea despite heavy shore fire. Fifteen years of merchant service followed his Revolutionary War service and in April 1798 he was appointed 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. In January 1799 he assumed command of the 14 gun brig Pickering and took her to the West Indies to protect American commerce. Commissioned Captain 7 June 1799, he took command of Essex in December and sailed in January 1800 for the Pacific to provide similar protective services for Americans engaged in the East Indies trade. Given command of the 3rd Squadron, with Constitution as his flagship, in 1803, he sailed for the Barbary coast and by October had promoted a treaty with Morocco and established a blockade off Tripoli. Relieved in September 1804, Commodore Preble returned to the United States in February 1805 and became engaged in shipbuilding activities at Portland, Maine, where he died 25 August 1807.
(SIpW: t. 566; l. 117’; b. 32’; dph 15’; a. 16 32-pdrs.)
The second Preble, a sloop-of-war built by the Portsmouth (N.H.) Navy Yard, was launched 13 June 1839 and commissioned the following year, Comdr. Samuel L. Breese in command.
On special duty off Labrador from June to November 1840, Preble sailed for the Mediterranean, 12 January 1841. Returning 13 August 1843, she departed the following year for the African coast where she served from 5 September 1844 to 25 September 1845. A year later she sailed from New York for the Pacific. Arriving at Valparaiso 26 January 1847, she continued on to serve with the Pacific Squadron off the west coast for the remainder of the Mexican War.
In the summer of 1848 she sailed west to cruise in the East Indies. During the spring of 1849 she moved north arriving at Nagasaki 18 April, to negotiate the release of survivors of the ship-wrecked whaler Lagoda, held prisoners by the Japanese. Accomplishing her mission, she sailed on the 26th to rejoin the East Indies Squadron at Shanghai. On 1 November 1850 she got underway for the United States. Arriving at New York 1 January 1851, she served as a practice ship for midshipmen until 1858.
In late 1858, Preble sailed for Paraguay to take action against that country for firing on Water Witch. She arrived at Asuncion with 18 other vessels 25 January 1859, but the payment of an indemnity and an apology settled the affair peacefully.
She returned to the United States in September 1860, and ten months later joined the Gulf Blockading Squadron to assist in implementing the Union blockade of the South’s coast. Initially at the mouth of the Mississippi she later shifted to Pensacola to act as guard and store ship. On 27 April 1863 she was accidently destroyed by fire.