Saturday, October 29, 2011

The USS Monitor

From the Oct. 27th Choctaw Plaindealer "The Civil War--New Naval Era for North and South" by C.J. Johnson.

On Oct. 25, 1861, the keel of the Monitor was laid in Greenpoint, New York, after the US government heard rumors that the Confederacy was rushing to complete an ironclad of their own. The Ironclad Board, appointed by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles gave their approval to start for Swedish-born John Ericsson to begin work in September.

The 987 ton Monitor's wooden keel was laid at the Continental Ironworks. Carpenters worked around the clock on the wooden inner structure while iron plating was being made.

The 172-foot long, 41-foot wide ship was remarkable in that its deck was only 18 inches above the water, and, of course, its twenty foot cylindrical revolving turret mounting two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. Furthermore, the ship was powered only by steam as there was no rigging. drawing 11 feet, the ship could operate in shallow waters as well.

The ship was completed very quickly, but still missed its original Jan. 12, 1862, launch date, not hitting the water until Jan. 30.

After some engine problems were solved, the Monitor was commissioned February 24th and just two weeks later, fought that Confederate ironclad, the CSS Virginia on March 6th.

This Turned Naval Architecture On Its Ear. --Old B-Runner

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