USS Cumberland (1842) - First Mediterranean Cruise

First Mediterranean Cruise

She was launched on 24 May 1842 by Boston Navy Yard. Her first commanding officer was Captain S. L. Breese, and her first service was as flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron from 1843 to 1845 where she had among her officers men like Foote (who served as executive officer) and Dahlgren (who served as a flag aide to Commodore Joseph Smith). The ship sailed to several parts of the Mediterranean including Port Mahon (homeport for U.S. Navy ships operating in the Mediterranean at this time), Genoa, Naples, Toulon, Jaffa, and Alexandria. The cruise was largely uneventful, though there was a diplomatic scuffle with the Sultan of Morocco who refused to recognize the newly appointed American ambassador. The incident possibly was the result of the Sultan being misled by the outgoing American ambassador who did not want to leave his post. Smith cleared up the misunderstanding and the new ambassador assumed his duties. The most notable event was Foote's successful effort to ban the grog ration. He believed it was a grand success in turning sailors into harder working, upstanding men. It later became Department policy in 1862 and it is still in effect to this day (with some exceptions.)

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