Preble, Edward (1761–1807), a United States naval officer who was an important figure in the war with Tripoli. The squadron he commanded blockaded Tripoli, 1803–04, and bombarded the city several times. Preble was known as an excellent trainer of young officers, and the daring exploits of the squadron's officers, called “Preble's boys," became part of American naval lore. Among them were William Bainbridge, Stephen Decatur, and David Porter. Preble received a gold medal and the thanks of Congress for his role in the Tripolitan War.
Preble was born in Falmouth (now Portland), Maine. At 16 he ran away from home to serve on a privateer; he later became an officer in the Massachusetts navy during the Revolutionary War. When the U.S. Navy was formed in 1798, he was named a lieutenant. In 1799 he was promoted to captain.