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fame, and protection, they go to distant and nearer lands and seas; often are exposed to the dangers of pestiferous climates, the dangers of the ocean, and the necessity of personal action and exposure on shipboard, while the vessel is dashing on her course away and afar, and again back to their country and their homes.
ANTICIPATION AND DISAPPOINTMENT.
All officers, for several days, have been aboard ship, waiting for a favorable breeze and tide coincident for going to
All have been anticipating the pleasure that seemed to lie before them, of visiting lands famed in history and story,* language, science, and the arts—and for myself, that land still more memorable as the ground on which was acted one of the tragic scenes of earth which, more than any other, contemplated in its results the interests of men on earth and their salvation in heaven. Í allude to the death of Jesus Christ, at Jerusalem. The child at school, from his earliest readings, has become familiar with the names and the deeds of Rome and Romans, Greece and Grecians, and the Jews. All these lands of Rome, Greece, Jerusalem, and other regions, high in their present cultivation of the arts, and rich in their ancient associations, we hoped were lying before us, for our inspection, consideration, and reflection ; and that we soon should tread where the famed ones in ancient history have trod, and make record of all our emotions among such associations as should gather around us, amid such scenes of the present and the past. “If we must go to sea, was the language of us all, “we are now going on a cruise the most desirable, and, in a manner, the most pleasant.” It is the cruise to which all look with
* The original destination of the Cumberland was to the Mediter
wishes to make it; and, generally, he is deemed fortunate who receives orders from the Department to accomplish it. For myself, the opportunity thus presented, in the way of my orders, seemed to have met my wishes as to time, when, if ever, I deemed it desirable to visit these lands and seas; and I was glad—in common with most of the officers of the wardroom, the majority of whom, like myself, had never been to these regions of our world—that the prospect was so fair, so near, and under auspices that none could doubt but should present opportunities as favorable for intellectual pleasure and improvement as could ever be presented to a voyager in one of our national frigates.
We should pause for a few months on the coast of Africa ; touch al a few points—the Cape de Verd Islands, and the sweet Madeiras; all augmenting rather than diminishing the prospects of pleasure for the cruise. The cornet—the signal for all offi. cers to repair immediately on board ship—had been flying at the mizzen-top-gallant head, the pilot was on board, and we waited only for wind and tide, for the cheering sound, “All hands to up anchor, ahoy !" to be piped through the ship. But—but the wind that evening did not serve, as was expected it would, and we yet lay at anchor-some conjecturing that we should yet be delayed until after the arrival of the British steamer, which was expected ; and the winds served us not for a few days after. And then, during these few days, a letter in russet-colored envelope from Washington came to hand ; and Commodore Read found in it enough to detain his fine ship for a few days longer, until further orders should be received from the Department. And then, a few days after, those additional orders, in consequence of late news from Mexico, directed that this fine frigate, all prepared for sea, equipped in men, guns, and ammunition, should, forthwith, repair to the Gulf of Mexico ; and in company with the force already there, lie off Vera
Cruz, to frighten, no doubt, the miserable Mexicans into a treaty with these magnanimous, Texas-loving United States. Well—well—so goes the world; et “sic transit gloria” maris Mediterranei! Gentlemen, where now are your yesterday's dreams of the Mediterranean? Did you ever cherish excited hope, but that the shade gathered over the sunshine of its looming ?
And have ye not seen the skies of purest blue
All the officers were loud in the expression of their disappointment. Many had been “near” reaching the Mediterranean, and this seemed to have been the nearer approach; but—that abominable but—they would always, some way or another, be sure to butt against it, and be sent headlong some other way. So is it now. And worse still. The Commodore—the orders that have changed the direction of this ship have also detached him from her, lest, forsooth, he being the senior officer, should of necessity, if he went in the frigate to the Gulf, supersede Commodore Conner, now there. Commodore Read, however, still holds his position as commanding the African and Mediterranean squadron; and the Department, with all apology, regretting the necessity of taking this good ship from him, at the moment of recent news and desirable negotiation, assures him of some ample compensation, to manifest the Department's profound respect, &c., &c., &c.all of which is very well ; but, no doubt, Commodore Read would very much rather have his ship, as it had been offered and given to him, and which had been now got in readiness, with his own chosen officers on board, ready to sail, than all the fine professions of the Department, however sincere or complimentary on paper or parchment merely.
The officers, at once, sent Commodore Read the following expression of their feelings:
To Commodore GEORGE C. Read, commanding the African Squadron.
SIR– The captain and the officers of the wardroom of the United States Frigate Cumberland have this instant heard, with lively sensibility, that you have been detached from this ship, and that she is ordered to proceed to the Gulf of Mex. ico. Allow us to express our sincere regret in view of the separation which your orders will necessitate. Sir, we had anticipated a pleasant cruise under your command; and we had congratulated ourselves, even with the confidence of assurance, that we should find our official and social intercourse most acceptable and agreeable. We therefore give to you our regrets that we are to part, and we do it with frank and unfeigned feelings; and at the same time we beg you to receive the assurances, wherever you may be called to act, in your official capacity as Commodore, or in your private relations of social life, that you have, and that you will continue to have, the cordial well-wishes of the undersigned, the captain, and the officers of the wardroom.
U. S. Frigate Cumberland,
The preceding paper was signed by the officers therein named, and handed to the Commodore, who seemed, equally with the other officers, to be disappointed by the orders which he had received, the changed destination of the ship, and his detachment from her. He sent in return to the above com. munication the following reply:
“U. S. Frigate Cumberland,
“GENTLEMEN-I have much pleasure in acknowledging your joint and kind letter of regret, on the event of my being
detached from the frigate Cumberland. The order which renders it imperative on me to leave you, has occasioned much pain. I did not ask for the command of the African squadron-it was offered to me ; and after refusing it on the ground of there not being a frigate attached to it, my objection was met by the proffer of the Cumberland. To be now deprived of this noble frigate, and separated from her officers, of whom I have had reason to entertain the most favorable impressions, has inflicted a wound, which it has never before been my lot to suffer.
“Be assured, gentlemen, that I feel sensibly this mark of your regard and esteem, and that I shall carry with me the recollection of your worth, and the desire again to serve with you under circumstances which may not subject me to an abrupt removal.
“That prosperity and happiness may attend you all, is the sincere wish of
" Your ob’t servant,
“ Geo. C. READ. “ To Captain Dulany, and the officers composing the wardroom mess on board the U. S. Frigate Cumberland.”
THE SAILING OF THE FRIGATE.
After delaying a day or two for the Commodore's conveni. ence—that he might disarrange his arrangements for shipboard, and comfortably leave the ship for shore—the frigate was put in final readiness, forthwith to leave her moorings for Vera Cruz, Mexico. The one relieving consideration to most of the officers of the ship, and to myself no less than to others, was, that letters, those blessed messengers from those we love, to one when one is absent from them, would come almost regularly to us, by being forwarded to Pensacola, and thence by a government vessel, which holds communica