George Henry Preble plea for reinstatement, Mobile, AL, 1862
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Commander George Henry Preble wrote to Gideon Welles, secretary of the Navy, with a plea that he be reinstated. Preble, a native of Portland and a career naval officer, had commanded the steam-gunboat Katahdin as part of Adm. David Farragut's squadron on the Mississippi. Preble (1816-1885) was promoted to commander in July 1862 and put in charge of the Oneida. The Confederate cruiser Oreto, later named the Florida, ran Preble's blockade in Mobile Bay. Welles dismissed Preble for failing to halt and stop the Rebel ship. In this copy of his letter to Welles, Preble said he was "redy and able to prove I did my duty, and my whole duty fairly, energetically and zealously." He said he "demanded" a court of inquiry to defend himself. He wrote that he did not think Welles or President Lincoln meant any intentional injustice in dismissing him. The copy of the letter is among the papers of Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley, a Portland lawyer who was military commander of New Orleans.