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The Cumberland's Crew

USS Cumberland
U.S. frigate Cumberland: 54 guns.
Cumberland sinking
Burning of the Cumberland
The USS Cumberland was rammed and sunk in an engagement with the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) at Newport News, Virginia on 8 March 1862. The engagement is considered to be a turning point in the history of world naval affairs as it showed the advantage of steam powered, armored ships over sail powered wooden hulled ships. It should be noted that because of the Cumberland, the Virginia lost two of her guns, her ram, and suffered some internal damage. The Cumberland did more damage to the Virginia than the U.S. Navy's ironclad Monitor, which did battle with the Virginia the next day.

9. The Cumberland's Crew

Oh, shipmates, come gather, and join in my ditty
Of a terrible battle that happened of late.
Let each good Union tar shed a tear of sad pity
As he lists to the once gallant Cumberland's fate;
On the eighth day of March told this terrible story.,
And many a tar to this world bid adieu.
But our flag it was wrapped in a mantle of glory
By the heroic deeds of the Cumberland's crew.

On that ill fated day about ten in the morning,
The sky, it was clear and bright shone the sun;
The drums of the Cumberland sounded a warning
Telling each gallant seaman to stand by his gun;
An ironclad frigate down on us came bearing,
While high in the air her rebel flag flew.
A pennant of treason she proudly was flaunting,
Determined to conquer the Cumberland's crew.

Then our noble ship fired her guns' dreadful thunder;
Our broadsides like hail on the rebels did pour,
The people gazed on – filled with terror and wonder
As the shot struck her sides and glanced harmlessly o'er.
But the pride of our navy could never be daunted,
Though the dead and the dying the deck they did strew.
The Star Spangled Banner above them was flying.
God bless that dear emblem, the Red, White and Blue!
alt. lyric: [The flag of our Union above them was flying.
Sustained by the blood of the Cumberland’s crew.]

Three hours we fought them with stern resolution,
Till the rebels found cannon could never decide;
The flag of Secession had no power to gall them,
Though the blood from our scuppers did crimson the tide.
Then she struck us amid-ships, our planks she did sever.
Her fierce iron prong pierced our noble ship through;
And they cried as they sank ’neath the dark rolling waters,
“We’ll die at our guns!” cried the Cumberland’s crew.

Then slowly she sank ’neath Virginia’s dark waters;
Their voices on Earth they will ne’er be heard more.
They'll be wept by Columbia's brave sons and fair daughters,
May their blood be avenged on Virginia's shore.
But the banner of freedom can never be conquered,
For brave hearts and fearless will ever be true.
The flag of our Union how bravely was flying.
It was nailed to the mast by the Cumberland’s crew.