Oh comrades, come listen, and join in my ditty
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 March told a terrible story:
The most of our seamen to the swells made acclaim;
Our flag it was wrapt in a mantle of glory
By the heroic deeds of the Cumberland crew.
On the eighth day of March, about ten in the morning,
The sky it was cloudless and bright shone the sun,
When the drum on the Cumberland sounded the warning
Which told every seaman to stand by his gun;
When an ironclad came bearing down on us,
And high in the air she the rebel flag flew;
The pennon of treason so proudly was waving
Determined to conquer the Cumberland crew.
Then up steps our captain with firm resolution,
Saying, "Boys, by this monster we'll ne'er be dismayed;
Let us fight for the Union's beloved constitution,
To die for the Union we are not afraid.
Let us fight for the Union's own cause, it is glorious;
For the stars and the stripes we will always prove true.
Let us die at our quarters or conquer victorious."
He was answered with cheers from the Cumberland crew.
Then our port we threw open and our guns we let thunder;
Broadsides on the enemy like hail we did pour;
Our seamen they stood wrapt in great wonder,
When a shot struck her side and glanced harm lessly o'er.
The pride of our navy could never be daunted.
The dead and the dying our decks they did strew;
And the star-spangled banner stained
By the blood of the Cumberland crew.
When traitors found cannon no longer avail them
For fighting those heroes with God on their side;
The cause of secession no power to quail them,
The blood of our seamen it crimsoned the tide.
She struck amidship, our plank she did sliver;
Her sharp iron prow pierced our noble ship through;
And as we were sinking in the dark rolling river,
"We'll die at our guns," said the Cumberland crew.
Slowly she sunk in Virginia's dark waters;
Our voices on the swells shall ne'er be heard more.
May be wept by Cumberland's brave sons and proud daughters!
May our blood be avenged on Virginia's shore!
In the battle-stained river so silently sleeping,
And most of our voices to the swells bade adieu;
And the star-spangled banner so proudly was waving,
Was nailed to the mast of the Cumberland crew.
Columbia is the gem of the brightest communion.
No flag ever floated so proudly before,
Now while those heroes who fought for the Union
Beneath those bright stars so exultingly soar.
When any brave heroes in battle assembled,
God bless that dear banner, the red, white, and blue!
For beneath its bright fold we'll cause tyrants to tremble,
Or die at our guns like the Cumberland crew