Edward Preble (1761-1807) was as hard and sharp as the coast of Maine from whence he came. He was, however, one of the most admired officers in the early republic's navy. Like Nelson's "band of brothers," the men who served with him thought of themselves as "Preble's boys." He launched his naval career during the Revolution serving in the Massachusetts State Navy. Following the war Preble commanded a variety of merchant vessels sailing coastwise as well as to Europe, Africa, and the West Indies. In 1798 he took a commission as a lieutenant in the United States Navy and sailed to the West Indies in command of the brig Pickering. In 1803 he was ordered to the Mediterranean as squadron commander. He remained on that station for nearly one year and during that time waged a vigorous campaign against Tripoli including ordering the destruction of Philadelphia. Suffering ill health, Preble returned to the United States and spent the remainder of his career supervising ship construction and advising the Secretary of the Navy.