Preble pleaded his case to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and to President Abraham Lincoln, citing circumstances, the condition of his ship, and the superior qualities of the Confederate ship Oreto, later known as the Florida.
Preble also sought the help of fellow Portlander and military governor of Louisiana Brig. Gen. George F. Shepley.
Preble, the nephew of father of the U.S. Navy, Commodore Edward Preble, was cleared of the charges and his commission restored.
After retiring from service, Preble wrote extensively on the U.S. flag, and naval and Maine history.
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