From Roland Palmer Gray, Songs and Ballads of the Maine Lumberjacks (1924):

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).
SeeJ.Henry Hayward, Poetical Pen-Pictures ofthe War, 3d ed. (New York, 1864), pp. 233-234 (title, "Monitor and Merrimac"; signature, "One of the Crew"); Lieder's New York One-CentBallad Sheet, Vol. I, No. 2, p. 15; Partridge's New National Songster, Vol. I, No. i; 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.