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The last US frigate to go into battle under sail power.


uss frolick
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... was the USS Cumberland in 1861, showing off at the Battle of the Hatteras Inlet.

From "What Finer Tradition: The Memoirs of Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN", USC Press, 1987, pp.39-40

" The repairs completed and vacancies in the complement filled, the Cumberland joined the fleet at Hampton Roads, and soon after was employed at the blockade of Hatteras Inlet. Since federal Naval forces controlled the lower Chesapeake, Norfolk's main line of water communication was via the Sounds of North Carolina, to the sea access was afforded through this inlet; and there the Confederates had erected two forts, the capture of which was undertaken by the Cumberland, Minnesota (flagship of Commodore Stringham) , Pawnee, Susquehanna, Wabash and Monticello on August 28, 1861. The initial bombardment caused an initial evacuation of the outermost fort, with little damage to the fleet, but the second fort, further inside, was more difficult to deal with since only our larger guns could reach it, and at the end of the first day, their flag was still flying.

That night, the Cumberland, not having any steam power, stood offshore a a precaution against the threatening weather, and was therefore late in joining the bombardment on the following morning. Standing in under all sail for the line of engaged ships, and luffing ahead of the leading one, we executed a simultaneous evolution of shortening and furling sail, dropping anchor, and opening fire; which the captain had adopted at my suggestion. It was a very smart and inspiring piece of seamanship, demonstrating the splendid qualities of our crew. Old officers who saw the maneuver had often spoken of the magnificence and beauty of the ship on this, the last occasion of an American frigate going into battle under sail.

The fleet spent most of the forenoon in bombarding the second fort, with little apparent result. Neither did the enemy's return fire do any appreciable damage. Finally a shell from the fleet dropped close to the earthworks, and into the ventilator of the bomb-proof, where most of the Confederates were sheltered. It did not explode, but fearing that it might do so, they rushed outside and hoisted a flag of truce. This ended the battle. Several days later. I had the opportunity to go ashore and investigate what kind of shell had caused the surrender. The Cumberland being the only ship of the fleet carrying 10-inch guns, and since both of her 10-inch guns were under my command, it was a source of great personal gratification to find a 10-inch shell in the bomb-proof."

Actually, Lt. Selfridge was incorrect, since the Minnesota (flag) and the Wabash also carried 10-inch guns.

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