Samuel W. Preston, born in Canada, 6 April 1840, was appointed Midshipman from the state of Illinois 4 October 1858. Graduating first in his class, 9 May 1861, he was appointed Acting Master, 4 October 1861 and Lieutenant 1 August 1862. From 1861 to 1863 he served on various vessels attached to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Captured by Confederate forces during an attack on Fort Sumter 8 September 1863, he was taken to Libby Prison and exchanged in the fall of 1864. Ordered to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron as Flag-Lieutenant to Rear Admiral D. D. Porter, he participated in the attacks on Fort Fisher 24–25 December 1864 and 13 January 1865. He was killed while leading his men against the fort on the latter date.
(ScStr: t. 428; l. 170’; b. 23’1”; dph. 13’4”)
The first Preston, a twin screw British blockade runner named Annie, was captured off New Inlet, N.C., 31 October 1864 by Wilderness and Niphon; purchased by the Navy from the New York Prize Court in December 1864; renamed Preston 2 February 1865; and commissioned 6 February 1865, Acting Volunteer Lt. J. R. Wheeler in command.
Assigned to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron, Preston departed New York 16 February and arrived at New Orleans 9 March. She operated along the Texas coast into July and on the 25th was ordered to Philadelphia. Decommissioned there 8 August 1865, she was sent to New York in November and sold at auction on the 30th.