USS Monitor Ironclad
Designed by John Ericsson, the USS Monitor was described as a cheesebox on a raft as her armored deck was just above the waterline she had a round turret on the deck. Aside from a small pilothouse, a detachable smokestack and a few fittings, the bulk of the ship was below the waterline to prevent damage from cannon fire. Launched on January 30, 1862, USS Monitor was the first ironclad warship in the United States Navy. She is most famous for her battle at Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862 where she fought the ironclad CSS Virginia of the Confederate States Navy. During the battle the ironclads fought for about four hours, neither one sinking or seriously damaging the other. Tactically, the battle was a draw. However, it was a strategic victory for Monitor. Virginia's mission was to break the Union blockade; that mission failed; Monitor's mission was to defend the U.S. fleet, which it did. The Virginia did however occupy the battlefield after the retreat of the USS Monitor after the captain was hit in the eyes with gunpowder. The two ironclads never again fought each other. While the design of Monitor was well suited for river combat, her low freeboard and heavy turret made her un-seaworthy in rough waters. This led to her loss in heavy seas on December 31, 1862 in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. 16 of 62 crewmen were lost in the storm. USS Monitor became the prototype for the monitor class of warship. Many more were built, including river and seagoing monitors. The last U.S. Navy monitor-class warship was struck from the Navy List in 1937. The Monitor was armed with 2 11 in (280 mm) Dahlgren guns. In 1973 the wreck of the Monitor was located on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean about 16 nautical miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. In 1998 the warship's propeller was raised to the surface and on July 16, 2001 divers brought to the surface her 30 ton steam engine. In August 2002 her gun turret was recovered by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a team of U.S. Navy divers.