USS Cumberland (1842) - Mexican-American War

Mexican-American War

As the ship was being made ready for a second trip to the Mediterranean, the Secretary of the Navy ordered the vessel to Mexico to assist in a show of force off the coast of Vera Cruz. Here she was flagship of the Home Squadron between February and December 1846, serving in the Gulf of Mexico during the Mexican-American War under the command of Cmdre. David Conner and Capt. Thomas Dulay. Capt. French Forrest later took command when Dulay fell ill. Other notable officers in this cruise were future Civil War rivals Raphael Semmes and John Winslow. The ship oversaw the blockade of the eastern Mexican coast for most of the war. She participated in several aborted attacks on Mexican ports, before running aground on 28 July off the coast of Alvarado. The ship was freed and her ship's company later participated in a raid on Tabasco. The grounding damaged her enough to force her to retire to Norfolk for repairs. Her crew, however, stayed behind and swapped ships with the crew of the sister frigate Raritan, which had been at sea for three years. The old crew participated in the siege of Vera Cruz as part of the Naval battery.

Cumberland returned to Mexico just as a cease fire was in place. Cmdre. Matthew C. Perry took over as flag officer from Conner. From Cumberland, Perry was instructed by the Polk Administration to assist settlers fleeing a major Mayan insurrection (known as the Caste War of Yucatán). Perry was also ordered to enforce the Monroe Doctrine and keep Spanish and English forces from interfering. With no realistic way to assist the setters Perry partially ignored the order when Spanish warships arrived from Cuba loaded with guns, bullets, and money. Perry left the region when he read that the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo had been ratified.

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