|George Prebble after the war|
With a British flag raised, Florida approached the blockading squadron at high speed. Florida and Oneida passed within 90 yards of each other before Prebble realized the ruse. Oneida opened fire at Florida, but missed. Winona joined in and put an XI-inch shot into Florida's boiler room, decapitating one of the fireman and injuring several others. Florida continued steaming. The two U.S. Navy ships switched over to shrapnel shot in an attempt to take out Florida's sails. The shrapnel injured several more of Florida's sailors, but failed to stop the cruiser from making it to the safety of Fort Morgan.
Maffitt was safe. Prebble, however was not. Upon hearing about the incident via Farragut and Welles, President Lincoln personally ordered Prebble to be removed from command and dismissed from the Navy. Welles wrote a letter informing Prebble of his dismissal. Being what communications were in 1862, Prebble learned about his firing in a newspaper article.
Prebble was furious and fought the charges. Coming from one of the U.S. Navy's most famous families (he was the nephew of Commodore Edward Prebble), he had major political clout to work with. For the next six months, he sought to be reinstated.