The USS Monitor was the first ironclad to be built and used by the young US Navy. With the naval battle between the Monitor and Confederate Virginia, she was also involved in the first battle between armored ships in history and was involved through their development at the sinking of the wooden ships.
Launching and design:
After the first battleships were put into service in Europe, the Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells in 1861 demanded proposals for armored ships for the US Navy. The Swedish engineer and inventor John Ericsson submitted a draft as a result, which was eventually adopted by the Navy leadership.
In contrast to European armored ships, the focus of the monitor was placed on the use in shallow waters. In addition, the protruding from the water part should be as low as possible to provide less attack surface. Thus, with the monitor except for a small control station on the bow, a chimney and the turret no superstructures were provided.
The ship was built by several companies, each delivering the individual parts to reach the planned production time of 100 days. Overall, the ship was finished after 120 days and had its launch on January 30, 1862.
History of the USS Monitor:
The only mission drove the monitor at the Battle of Hampton Roads, where it was to defend the wooden ships of the US Navy against the Confederacy-built Virginia, also a battleship. The battle with the Virginia was in a stalemate, as none of the ships could inflict greater damage to the other due to the armor. As the Virginia retreated, the monitor also left the area.
The end of the USS Monitor:
By the end of 1862, the monitor was to be relocated to the Charleston area. Due to its design, the ship was only suitable for calm swell, even small waves washed over the deck. On her crossing this weakness was her fatal, as the waves were too strong and the ship sank on December 31, 1862 at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. 16 sailors were killed.
|Country||USA (Northern states)|
|Launching||January 30, 1862|
|Whereabouts||sunk on 31 December 1862 in heavy seas|
|Plating||Oak wood with wrought iron plates|
|Drive||Ericsson balancing steam engine with 320 hp|
|Mass||987 metric tons|
|Arming||2 x 279mm Dahlgren smooth tube guns