civil war ship model
MONITOR was a
marvel of the mid-nineteenth century. There are many first's
associated with the USS MONITOR. She was was
the first ironclad warship commissioned by the
United States Navy, the first ship employing a
revolving turret. The MONITOR also the first ship
which had below waterline flushing toilets.
Monitor was built as one of three experimental ironclads
for the US Navy. The birth of the Monitor was a
direct response to the transformation of the captured
USS Merrimack into an ironclad by the Confederate.
Monitor was designed by Swedish-born inventor John
Ericsson. Ericsson produced a revolutionary design
which included a revolving turret, a low freeboard (only
the ship's turret, stacks, and small armored pilot house
projected above the hull.) This almost non-existent
profile made the ship very difficult to hit.
Highly impressed by Ericsson's innovative design,
Cornelius S. Bushnell--one of Connecticut's most
distinguished men--traveled to Washington and convinced
the Navy to authorize its construction. The contract for
the ship was given to Ericsson and work began in New
at a frenetic pace, the USS MONITOR was launched just
within 100 days of being laid down. On February 25 work
was completed and Monitor commissioned with Lieutenant
John L. Worden in command.
in service for less than a year, USS MONITOR profoundly
influenced warship design and several similar ships were
built for the Union Navy. She sunk
December 31, 1862
when she encountered stormy
high waves off Cape Hatteras.
1973, USS MONITOR's wreck was discovered. In 2001,
recovery efforts began to salvage the ship's steam
engine. The next year, Monitor's innovative turret was
raised. These have all been taken to the Mariner's
Museum in Newport News, VA.