Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Preble III (Torpedo Boat Destroyer 12)

(Torpedo boat destroyer 12: dp. 592; l. 250-2-; b. 23-1-; dr. 6-6-; s. 28 k.; cpl. 87; a. 2 3-, 4 6-pdrs., 3 18- tt.; cl. Bainbridge)

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.


The third Preble (Torpedo boat destroyer 12) was laid down by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif., 21 April 1899; launched 2 March 1901; sponsored by Miss Ethel Preble; and commissioned 14 December 1903, Lt. T. C. Fenton in command.

Preble, assigned to the Pacific Fleet, operated with the 4th and 2nd Torpedo Flotillas off the western seaboard from Washington to the Panama Canal Zone until 1908, making a cruise to Hawaii and Samoa (24 August-November 1908). On returning she resumed west coast operations, continuing them until 4 February 1909, when she arrived at Mare Island for inactivation. In reserve 23 February-17 September, she was then reassigned to the Pacific Torpedo Flotilla, and until 1913 operated with Torpedo Flotilla, Pacific Fleet. Placed in reserve again 19 June 1913, she remained at Mare Island until resuming operations with the torpedo flotilla 23 April 1914.

Torpedo practice, gunnery exercises and minesweeping operations followed, and during the summer of 1915 Preble participated in a cruise to Alaskan waters to gather logistic information. After another period in reserve status (25 October 1916-3 April 1917), Preble departed San Diego 30 April 1917, for the east coast. She arrived at Norfolk 13 July and, until the end of World War I, was engaged in coastwise convoy duty along the mid-Atlantic seaboard. Remaining on the east coast after the war, she decommissioned at New York, 11 July 1919. Her name was struck from the Navy List 15 September 1919 and she was sold, 3 January 1920, to Joseph G. Hitner of Philadelphia, Pa.

Published: Mon Aug 24 12:19:37 EDT 2015