Presented by John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center
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About this presentation:
The USS Cumberland was a Raritan-class 50-gun sailing frigate. Ordered initially in 1816, the warship was not launched until 1842. The vessel served in the Mediterranean Squadron for three cruises and fought during the Mexican War. The frigate was razed into a sloop of war at Charlestown Navy Yard, 1855-57. The remodeled warship was assigned to the Africa Station on slave patrol. In 1860, Cumberland was the flagship of the Home Squadron. The Cumberland escaped destruction when Federal officials abandoned Gosport Navy Yard in April 1861. Eleven months later, Cumberland earned the dubious distinction of being the first wooden warship sunk by an ironclad when on March 8, 1862, CSS Virginia destroyed the obsolete sloop proving the power of iron over wood.
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