Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ironclad USS Monitor

This photograph was taken in 1862 and shows the deck and gun turret of the USS Monitor, the first ironclad in the US Navy. The ship is remembered for the famous fight with the confederate Merrimac, also known as the CSS Virginia. In this epic naval battle the two ironclads went toe to toe, and basically fought to a draw. With the iron armor on the ships, the cannonballs basically just bounced off and did no damage.

It was on this day, January 30, in the year 1862 that the USS Monitor was launched. It was on this day that the entire British Navy, and every other wooden war ship in the world became obsolete.


  1. My grandfather lied about his age at 17 so he could join the navy in WWI. I have a photo of him in his uniform, young and handsome, that is one of my prized possessions.

    These gents are way before his time of course, but old photos of sailors have a special appeal to me for this reason.

    Great photo!

  2. Clew -

    I really think that there is something special about military service. Hats off to your grandfather.

  3. The dent to the left of the gunport is from the famous battle with the CSS Virginia.

    Kind of neat running the picture on the anniversary of its launching in 1862.

    Talk about a rush to destiny. The big battle took place about a month and a half later.

  4. Roaddog -
    Thanks for pointing out the dents. Amazing to think that they were created by point blank cannon shot from the Virginia, and no more damage than a few dents. Ironclad warships was technology that really did change the world.

  5. The first ironclad was La Gloire in 1858.

    The first Royal Navy ironclad was HMS Warrior in 1860:

    By 1862 when USS Monitor was launched, the Royal Navy and the French Navy had 16 ironclads each.

    Yes, USS Monitor was one of many ground-breaking warships around that time. Better late than never Uncle Sam ;-)

    David 1/2d

  6. Designed by a swede. ;-)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.