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History >> United States:
General History and Description
to the Civil War, 1775/1783-1861
Period, 1789-1809 >> Thomas Jefferson's
commander of a naval squadron during the Tripolitan War
Edward Preble was born in Portland, Maine, on August 16, 1761. He ran away to sea at the age of 16, and served with the Massachusetts State Navy during the Revolutionary War. After the war he served in the Merchant Marine.
When undeclared naval hostilities with France began in 1798, Preble entered the newly-formed United States Navy as a Lieutenant. He spent the next two years in the West Indies and East Indies, where he helped protect American commerce from French privateers. He was promoted to Captain in May of 1799.
In 1803 Preble was assigned to command a squadron sent to the Mediterranean Sea to protect American ships and seamen from Tripolitan pirates. After the pirates captured the frigate Philadelphia at Tripoli, he sent Stephen Decatur on a mission to destroy it. In the late summer of 1804, during the Tripolitan War, Preble's squadron blockaded Tripoli and attacked the heavily fortified port five times, but was unable to capture it. Relieved of his command, Preble returned to the United States and built gunboats for the Navy until his death, which came on August 25, 1807.
During his career, Preble helped train some of the most famous naval officers of the War of 1812, including Decatur, William Bainbridge, and Isaac Hull.
The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: General History and Description >> Revolution to the Civil War, 1775/1783-1861 >> Constitutional Period, 1789-1809 >> Thomas Jefferson's Administration, 1801-1809
This page was last updated on January 18, 2017.