USS Monitor Characteristics
Acquisition:--Built by contract with John
Ericsson at Green Point, L. I. Launched January 30, 1862.
Cost:--$275,000 or $280,000.
Class: Monitor; screw steamer;
iron and wood; single turret.
Rate, rig, etc.: Original type of turreted vessel.
172'; beam, 41' 6"; depth, 11' 4".
Draft.--Just after being launched; forward, 7' 8"; aft, 8' 1" (10' 6").
trunk, cylinders (2 in 1 casting); 36" diameter, 27" stroke.
Boilers.--Two; return tube "box" boilers.
guns in turret.
Disposition.--Foundered off Hatteras, December
31, 1862, Commander J.P. Bankhead in command.
Remarks.--Cost of articles furnished to her
was $560.35. Had famous engagement with C. S. S. Merrimack in Hampton Roads, March 9, 1862. First engagement of ironclads.
Report of Lieutenant Worden,
U. S. Navy, regarding the complement of officers and crew for the U. S. S. Monitor.
NAVY YARD, NEW YORK, January
Hon. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy.
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 24th instant, in relation to the complement
of officers and crew for Ericsson's ironclad battery.
In estimating the number
of her crew, I allowed 15 men and a quarter gunner for the two guns, 11 men for the powder division, and 1 for the wheel,
which I deem ample for the efficient working of her guns in action. That would leave 12 men (including those available in
the engineer's department) to supply deficiencies at the guns, caused by sickness or casualties. I propose to use a portion
of the petty officers at the guns, and in naming the number of that class I thought I would be enabled to obtain a better
class of men for that purpose.
It is believed that 17 men and 2 officers in
the turret would be as many as could work there with advantage; a greater number would be in each other's way and cause embarrassment.
The limited accommodations of the battery and the insufficiency of ventilation renders it important that as few as is consistent
with her efficiency in action should be put in her.
In relation to masters mates, one might be ordered; more would overcrowd
her accommodations and seems to be unnecessary.
your obedient servant,
JOHN L. WORDEN,
|U.S. Naval Historical Center
|(Civil War Photo of Monitor Ironclad)
(Picture) USS Monitor (1862). Photographic mosaic of the ship's
remains, composed of individual photographs taken from the research ship Alcoa Seaprobe in April 1974, when Monitor's
wreck was initially discovered. Monitor lies upside down, in badly damaged condition, off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
In this image, her bow is to the right, with her turret displaced and visible in the lower left, with the hull resting atop
it. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Source: Naval Official Records
Reading: War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor. Description: In a familiar story, the USS Monitor battled the CSS Virginia (the armored and refitted
USS Merrimack) at Hampton Roads in March of 1862. In War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor, David A. Mindell
adds a new perspective to the story as he explores how mariners -- fighting "blindly" below the waterline -- lived and coped
with the metal monster they called the "iron coffin." Mindell shows how the iron warship emerged as an idea and became practicable,
how building it drew upon and forced changes in contemporary manufacturing technology, and how the vessel captured the nineteenth-century
American popular and literary imaginations. Continued below…
personal, administrative, and literary analysis, Mindell examines the experience of the men aboard the Monitor and their reactions
to the thrills and dangers that accompanied the new machine. The invention surrounded men with iron and threatened their heroism,
their self-image as warriors, even their lives. Mindell also examines responses to this strange new warship by Nathaniel Hawthorne
and Herman Melville, who prophetically saw in the Civil War a portent of the mechanized warfare of the future. The story of
the Monitor shows how technology changes not only the tools but also the very experience of combat, generating effects that
are still felt today in the era of "smart bombs" and push-button wars. "We find new significance in the otherwise well-known
history of the Monitor. It is no longer the story of the heroic inventor and his impenetrable weapon thrusting themselves
upon a doubtful and conservative bureaucracy... It is no longer the story of a heroic battle and the machine's epic loss soon
after. Rather it is a story of people experiencing new machinery, attempting to make sense of its thrills, constrictions,
and politics, and sensing its power and impotence -- both in glory and frustration." -- from War, Technology, and Experience
aboard the USS Monitor. About the Author: David A. Mindell is Dibner
Associate Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at
MIT. He has degrees in Electrical Engineering and Literature from Yale University
and a Ph.D. in the History of Technology from MIT. His research interests include the history of military technology, the
history of electronics and computing, and archaeology in the deep ocean. He is currently working on a history of feedback,
control, and computing in the twentieth century, and on locating and imaging ancient shipwrecks and settlements in the deep
regions of the Black Sea.
Reading: The Battle of Hampton
Roads: New Perspectives on the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (Mariner's Museum). Description: On March 8 and 9, 1862, a sea battle off the Virginia coast changed naval warfare forever. It began when the Confederate States Navy’s
CSS Virginia led a task force to break the Union blockade of Hampton Roads. The Virginia
sank the USS Cumberland and forced the frigate Congress to surrender. Damaged by shore batteries, the Virginia retreated, returning the next day to find her way blocked by the newly arrived
USS Monitor. The clash of ironclads was underway. Continued below…
for nine hours, both ships withdrew, neither seriously damaged, with both sides claiming victory. Although the battle may
have been a draw and the Monitor sank in a storm later that year, this first encounter between powered, ironclad warships
spelled the end of wooden warships—and the dawn of a new navy. This book takes a new look at this historic battle. The
ten original essays, written by leading historians, explore every aspect of the battle—from the building of the warships
and life aboard these “iron coffins” to tactics, strategy, and the debates about who really won the battle of
Hampton Roads. Co-published with The Mariners’ Museum, home to the USS Monitor Center, this authoritative guide to the
military, political, technological, and cultural dimensions of this historic battle also features a portfolio of classic lithographs,
drawings, and paintings. Harold Holzer is one of the country’s leading experts on the Civil War.
Reading: Union Monitor 1861-65.
Description: The first seagoing ironclad was the USS Monitor, and its profile has made it one of the most easily recognized
warships of all time. Following her inconclusive battle with the Confederate ironclad Virginia
on March 9, 1862, the production of Union monitors was accelerated. Continued below...
By the end of the year, a powerful squadron of monitor vessels protected the blockading squadrons off the
Southern coastline and was able to challenge Confederate control of her ports and estuaries. Further technological advancements
were included in subsequent monitor designs, and by the end of the war the US Navy possessed a modern coastal fleet carrying
the most powerful artillery afloat. This book covers the design, development and operational history of the Union’s Monitor fleet.
Reading: Ironclad, by Paul Clancy (Hardcover). Description: The
true story of the Civil War ironclad that saved the Union Navy only to sink in a storm--and its remarkable salvage 140 years
later. Ironclad tells the saga of the warship USS Monitor and its salvage, one of the most complex and dangerous in history.
The Monitor is followed through its maiden voyage from New York to Hampton Roads, its battle
with the Merrimack, and its loss off Cape
Hatteras. At the same time, author Paul Clancy takes readers behind the
scenes of an improbable collaboration between navy divers and cautious archaeologists working 240 feet deep. Clancy creates
a memorable, fascinating read, including fresh insights into the sinking of the Union ship and giving the answer to an intriguing
forensic mystery: the identities of the two sailors whose bones were found in the Monitor's recovered turret. Continued below…
Its one great
battle in the spring of 1862 marked the obsolescence of wooden fighting ships and may have saved the Union. Its terrible end in a winter
storm off Cape Hatteras
condemned sixteen sailors to a watery grave. And the recovery of its 200-ton turret in August 2002 capped the largest, most
complex and hazardous ocean salvage operation in history. In Ironclad, Paul Clancy interweaves these stories so skillfully
that the cries of drowning Union sailors sound a ghostly undertone to the cough of diesel generators and the clanging of compression-chamber
doors on a huge recovery barge. The din and screech of cannonballs on iron plating echo beneath the hum of electronic monitors
and the garbled voices of Navy divers working at the edge of human technology and endurance in water 240 feet deep.
the letters and diaries of the Monitor's long-ago sailors, and he moved among the salvage divers and archaeologists in the
summer of 2002. John L. Worden, captain of the Monitor, strides from these pages no less vividly than the remarkable Bobbie
Scholley, the woman commander of 160 Navy divers on an extreme mission. Clancy writes history as it really happens, the improbable
conjunction of personalities, ideas, circumstances, and chance. The Union navy desperately needed an answer to the Confederacy's
ironclad dreadnought, and the brilliantly eccentric Swedish engineer John Ericsson had one. And 140 years later, when marine
archaeologists despaired of recovering any part of the Monitor before it disintegrated, a few visionaries in the U.S. Navy
saw an opportunity to resurrect their deep-water saturation diving program. From the breakneck pace of Monitor's conception,
birth, and brief career, to the years of careful planning and perilous labor involved in her recovery, Ironclad tells a compelling
tale of technological revolution, wartime heroism, undersea adventure, and forensic science. This book is must-reading for
anyone interested in Civil War and naval history, diving and underwater salvage, or adventures at sea.
Reading: Confederate Ironclad vs Union Ironclad: Hampton Roads
1862 (Duel). Description: The Ironclad
was a revolutionary weapon of war. Although iron was used for protection in the Far East
during the 16th century, it was the 19th century and the American Civil War that heralded the first modern armored self-propelled
warships. With the parallel pressures of civil war and the industrial revolution, technology advanced at a breakneck speed.
It was the South who first utilized ironclads as they attempted to protect their ports from the Northern blockade. Impressed
with their superior resistance to fire and their ability to ram vulnerable wooden ships, the North began to develop its own
rival fleet of ironclads. Eventually these two products of this first modern arms race dueled at the battle of Hampton Roads
in a clash that would change the face of naval warfare. Continued below…
with cutting-edge digital artwork, rare photographs and first-person perspective gun sight views, this book allows the reader
to discover the revolutionary and radically different designs of the two rival Ironclads - the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor
- through an analysis of each ship's weaponry, ammunition and steerage. Compare the contrasting training of the crews and
re-live the horrors of the battle at sea in a war which split a nation, communities and even families. About the Author: Ron
Field is Head of History at the Cotswold School in
Bourton-on-the-Water. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught history at Piedmont
High School in California
from 1982 to 1983. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain, from 1983 to 1992. He is
an internationally acknowledged expert on US Civil War military history, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military
Historians, based in Washington, DC,
in 2005. The author lives in Cheltenham, UK.
Recommended Reading: Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy. From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Toll, a former financial analyst and political speechwriter,
makes an auspicious debut with this rousing, exhaustively researched history of the founding of the U.S. Navy. The author
chronicles the late 18th- and early 19th-century process of building a fleet that could project American power beyond her
shores. The ragtag Continental Navy created during the Revolution was promptly dismantled after the war, and it wasn't until
1794—in the face of threats to U.S. shipping from England, France and the Barbary
states of North Africa—that Congress authorized the construction of six
frigates and laid the foundation for a permanent navy. Continued below
Department of the Navy followed in 1798. The fledgling navy quickly proved its worth in the Quasi War against France
in the Caribbean, the Tripolitan War with Tripoli and the
War of 1812 against the English. In holding its own against the British, the U.S.
fleet broke the British navy's "sacred spell of invincibility," sparked a "new enthusiasm for naval power" in the U.S. and marked the maturation of the American navy. Toll
provides perspective by seamlessly incorporating the era's political and diplomatic history into his superlative single-volume
narrative—a must-read for fans of naval history and the early American