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.
(Str: t. 230; l. 160’; b. 12’)
The second Preston, a “cigar shaped steamer” used to transport cotton, was captured in Charleston Harbour in February 1865. Renamed Preston and operated under the command of Acting Ensign William Thomas, she was assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and stationed at Port Royal until August 1865. Then ordered north, she arrived at Washington 21 August and was placed in ordinary. She was sold at auction 17 September 1868.