The Cumberland Crew

Oh shipmates come gather and join in my ditty
Of a terrible battle that happened of late
Let each Union tar shed a tear of sad pity,
When he thinks of the once-gallant Cumberland’s fate
The eighth day of March told a terrible story
When many’s a brave tar to this world bid adieu
Our flag was wrapped in a mantle of glory
By the heroic deeds of the Cumberland crew

That ill-fated day about ten in the morning
The sky it was cloudless and bright shone the sun
The drums of the Cumberland sounded a warning
That told every man to stand by his gun
For an ironclad frigate upon us was bearing
High up in the air her base Rebel flag flew
A symbol of treason she proudly was wearing
Determined to conquer the Cumberland crew

Our noble ship fired, huge guns, dreadful thunder
Our broadside like hail on the Rebel did pour
We sailors did look on in terror and wonder
As the shot struck her sides and bounced harmlessly o’er
But the pride of our Navy could never be daunted
Though our decks with the dead and the wounded did strew
And the start-spangled banner how proudly it flaunted
For ‘twas nailed to the mast by the Cumberland crew

We fought for three hours with stern resolution
Still those Rebel-found cannon could never decide
Their flag of secession had no power to quell us
Though the blood from our scuppers did crimson the tide
She struck us amidships, our planks she did sever
Her sharp iron prow pierced our noble ship through
And slowly we sank in the swift flowing river
"We’ll die by our guns!" said the Cumberland crew

Oh, slowly they sank in the dark rolling waters
Their voices on earth will be heard nevermore
They’ll be mourned by Columbia’s brave sons and fair daughters
May their blood be avenged on Virginia’s old shores
And whenever sailors in battle assemble
God bless our banner, the red, white, and blue
Beneath it’s proud folds we’ll make tyrants to remble
Or sink with our guns like the Cumberland crew

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