|Share page||Visit Us On FB|
The Cumberland Crew
The United States frigate Cumberland, commanded by Lieutenant George Morris, was sunk by the Merrimac off Newport News, Virginia, on March 8,1862 (see Spears, History of Our Navy, 1897, IV, 197-207). I print this song as it was sung to me in 1916 by Mr. Fowler of Mattawamkeag, Maine, and taken down by his grandson. It differs slightly from the printed texts, which, however, are by no means identical in phraseology. Some of the variant readings are given in the footnotes (from Hayward).
See J. Henry Hayward, Poetical Pen-Pictures of the War^yi ed. (New York, 1864), pp. 233-234 (title, "Monitor and Merrimac"; signature, "One of the Crew"); Lieder's New York One-Cent Ballad Sheet, Vol. I, No. 2, p. 15; Partridge's New National Songster, Vol. I, No. 1; Adventure (magazine) for August 20,1922, p. 191; Luce, Naval Songs, 2d ed. (New York, 1902), pp. 138-139. Henry de Marsan, New York, printed the song as a broadside (List 19, No. 12), but I have not succeeded in finding this.
I Oh comrades, come listen, and join in my dittyl Of a terrible battle that happened of late. May each Union tar shed a sad tear of pity When they think of the once gallant Cumberland's fate. For the eighth day of March2 told a terrible story: The most of our seamen to the swells made acclaim;3 Our flag it was wrapt in a mantle of glory By the heroic deeds of the Cumberland crew.
1 "Oh comrades, come gather and join in my ditty" (Hayward).
2 "On the 9th day of March told a terrible story." * "And many a brave tar to this world bid adieu."