The Curse of the Somers (from The New York Times 1843). CD: " Victory Sings at Sea - The Curse of the SOMERS - Billy Budd's Ghost Ship." Animated music video.

Come listen all you sailors bold,
come listen unto me.
I'll sing you of a cruel deed.
a bloody tragedy.
Come listen landsmen one and all,
come listen unto me,
I'll make you bless your lucky stars
you've never gone to sea.

It was the Somers, graceful. swift.
as trim a little brig.
as e' er was modeled by shipwright
or sailor helped to rig.
The grating's rigged, the hangman's whip
dangles from main yardarm.
The wondering crew gaze on the sight
with terror and alarm.

CHORUS: (by T. Morgan. © 1995 Skookumchuck Music)
For the Captain called their names
and three good men were slain
No trial, no questions here,
only the horror, the grief and the fear.

Alas, the meaning's soon too clear,
the noose is round the neck
of three poor men, but men as brave
as walked the Somers deck.
On one side Small and Cromwell stand.
bold men and sailors true.
They quail not though the boldest might
with such a death in view.

Starboard young foolish Spencer stands.
the tears are in his eye.
What feelings of deep agony
must through his bosom fly.
Look, look your last, for hark, a gun
sends forth its smoky breath.
Whip instantly upon the word,
their eyes are sealed in death.

And sad and slow our mess mates dead,
we launched into the waves,
and watched them sink 'mid ocean's moans.
deep in their watery graves.
Strange sounds will float upon the air
and in the blast will speak.
and round the main yardarm three ghosts
will play and dance and shriek.

And ill luck and misfortune dire
will follow in thy wake
'til the ghastly three. where lie their bones.
thy last dark haven make.
Sheet home on every cursed spar.
set every rag of sail.
and leave here to the ocean ghouls
and demons of the gale.

Animated music video.
From “Victory Sings at Sea - The Curse of the SOMERS - Billy Budd's Ghost Ship”
3. 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

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.

Documentary video (55-min) about the Curse of the Somers.