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Stewart Lyr Req: Curse of the Somers (8) RE: Lyr Req: Curse of the Somers 18 Apr 14

The youtube video above is from the recording by Victory Sings at Sea
unfortunately that CD is no longer available

Here are the liner notes from the CD

On September [3, 1842, the newly constructed US Brig Somers set sail from New York on her maiden training voyage with 120 midshipmen and sailors. The Somers was the first of a planned series of training ships for Naval cadets. Her captain. Alexander Mackenzie, was a cruel taskmaster, logging 43 floggings in the first three weeks alone. After two and a half months at sea, Captain Mackenzie came to believe that a mutiny was being planned by 18 year old midshipman Philip Spencer. Spencer and two seamen, Samuel Cromwell and Elijah Small, were arrested and convicted of mutiny by drumhead court martial without even a chance to testify. On December 1, 1842. all three were summarily hanged at sea.

Philip Spencer was the son of John Canfield Spencer, Secretary of War of the United States. Young Spencer was also a founder of the Chi Psi Fraternity. The executions on the Somers became a national scandal. The scandal contributed to the Navy's decision to create a land based school. the U.S. Naval Academy. Herman Melville, who was a first cousin of the Somers' 2nd in command, took the inspiration for his last novel. Billy Budd, from the Somers story. Mackenzie was tried for murder by court martial. The presiding officer was his own brother-in-law. Mackenzie was cleared -barely. The Somers was said to be a cursed ship.

Four years later, the Somers was assigned to the blockade of Veracruz harbor during the Mexican War. On December 8, 1846. the Somers was chasing a Mexican blockade runner when a gale struck suddenly. The Somers capsized, taking half of her officers and crew to the bottom in less than 10 minutes. Her captain, Raphael Semmes, who later was captain of the famous raider, CSS. Alabama, survived by swimming. The Somers lay in 17 fathoms of water, lost for 140 years,
In 1986, an expedition led by George and Joel Belcher finally located the Somers George Belcher, wanting to share the history and discovery of the Somers, decided to produce a video documentary, The Curse of the Somers, George came to us for music for the Somers story. This album is the result of our combined efforts and includes music from the documentary soundtrack with additional music appropriate to the Somers theme.

The Somers Curse (5:58)
music and chorus by T Morgan, 1995 Skookumchuck Music
Lead Vocal: T Morgan; Guitar & Bass: K Kenison; Viola: J Weeks;
Whistle, P. Morgan; Harmony: H Cramer, M. James, P. Morgan
These verse lyrics were published anonymously in the New York
Times in 1843 - The words captured the popular sentiments of outrage at the hangings and accurately prophesied the fate that awaited the Somers

Cheers, S. in Seattle

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