Down To The Sea


“Strike your flag!” the rebel cries,
In his arrogant old plantation strain.
“Never!” our gallant Morris replies:
“It is better to sink than to yield!”
And the whole air pealed
With the cheers of our men.

Then, like a kraken huge and black,
She crushed our ribs in her iron grasp!
Down went the Cumberland all a wrack,
With a sudden shudder of death,
And the cannon’s breath
For her dying gasp.

* * *

Ho! brave hearts that went down in the seas!
Ye are at peace in the troubled stream;
Ho! brave land! with hearts like these,
Thy flag, that is rent in twain,
Shall be one again,
And without a seam!
Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThe Cumberland”

Moran's The White Squadron's Farewell Salute to the Body of Captain John Ericsson

Captain John Ericsson’s Body on Its Way to Sweden The Inventor of the Monitor Honored Yesterday by an Impressive Display on Land and Water

This city was the scene yesterday of one of the most remarkable tributes ever paid by a people to the memory of a great man. It was the day appointed for the removal of the remains of Captain John Ericsson from this country, which he loved so well and for which he did so much, to the land of his birth, where he was held in as high esteem as here. … The scene across the water to Bedlow’s Island and far down toward Staten Island was a lively and a picturesque one, dotted with every conceivable form of craft.…

Shortly after 12 o’clock the Despatch, flying Secretary [of the Navy Benjamin F.] Tracy’s flag, steamed around from the navy yard and dropped her anchor. … Next her lay the Baltimore, scrubbed and polished, and with the faintest evidences of steam up, preparatory to her long ocean voyage to Sweden. Then came the Dolphin.… The Petrel… and the Pensacola … were next in line, while beyond them lay the Enterprise, the Chicago, the Atlanta, and the Yorktown, each with colors half-masted, each doing honor to that genius to which the modern navy owes its evolution. …

An instance of the universal reverence in which the memory of the great inventor is held was seen in the generous display of half-masted flags. Every little schooner and sloop, each one of the innumerable tugs, and all the ferries and steamers contributed to the patriotic sentiment of the scene by displaying the American colors. …

—New York Times, August 24, 1890

Moran's Return of the Conquerors. Typifying Our Victory in the Late Spanish-American War (September 29, 1899)

To eastward ringing, to westward winging, o’er mapless miles of sea,
On winds and tides the gospel rides that the furthermost isles are free…
Mother! new-found, beloved, and strong to hold from harm,
Stretching to these across the seas the shield of her sovereign arm,
Who summoned the guns of her sailor sons, who bade her navies roam,
Who calls again to the leagues of main, and who calls them this time Home!

* * *

Yes, it is good to battle, and good to be strong and free,
To carry the hearts of a people to the uttermost ends of sea …
But better the golden evening when the ships round heads for home,
And the long gray miles slip swiftly past in a swirl of seething foam,
And the people wait at the haven’s gate to greet the men who win!
Thank God for peace! Thank God for peace, when the great gray ships come in!

Guy Wetmore Carryl “When the Great Gray Ships Come In”