Later Ironclads

Though Ericsson’s original monitor is well known, it is not commonly understood that it served as a prototype for several other monitors built during the Civil War. In all, including the original Monitor, sixty monitor type ships were constructed during the war, and of these thirty-seven were actually commissioned.

This new batch of monitor-type ships, designed by Ericsson are classed into two classes of vessel: the Passaic Class and the Canonicus Class monitors. Both of these classes were improved and enlarged designs of the original Monitor. The differences that mark these classes are as follows:

The Passaic class monitor was the result of flaws noticed in the original Monitor. In the aftermath of the March 9, 1862, battle between the Monitor and the Virginia, Commodore Joseph Smith, who had served on the ironclad board that had approved the building of the first monitor, suggested alterations to the ship’s design. He wanted thicker hull plating, larger guns, better steering, and an improved pilot house design. Ericsson responded with the plans for a new monitor, called the Passaic. On the exterior, this new monitor varied from the original in several ways. The new monitor was larger than the original, measuring 200 feet by 45 feet in the beam. The hull, was designed with shiplike lines, a departure from the original monitor’s, near flat bottom. Most noticeably, the pilot house was enlarged to six feet in diameter and was mounted on top of the turret. The turret was enlarged to twenty-one feet in diameter and the armor thickness increased to eleven inches. The Passaic was also originally designed to carry two fifteen inch Dahlgren guns. However, production problems slowed the manufacture of these large guns and most Passaic class monitors carried a lop-sided combination of one eleven inch Dahlgren and one fifteen inch Dahlgren. A “impregnable smoke pipe” or stack was also added, made of six one inch plates, the stacks were designed to withstand considerable abuse. Later, following the action at Fort Sumter, where the Passaic’s turret was disabled by a shot denting the base of the turret, an iron collar was placed around the base of the turret to protect it from damage.

On the interior, the Passaic monitors had improved boilers and ventilation systems and reinforcing bulkheads to support the turret area. During the course of the war ten Passaic class monitors were built (Passaic, Montauk, Catskill, Patapsco, Lehigh, Sangamon, Weehawken, Nantucket, and Camanche). As a class the Passaic’s were remarkably durable, and
many saw continued naval service off and on during the remainder of the 19th century.

The second series of Ericsson monitors built during the Civil War was the Canonicus class ship. This class was again an improvement in design based on experience gained by both the original Monitor and the Passaic. The Canonicus was slightly longer measuring 225 feet in length, but slightly narrower than the Passaic. This was done to give the new monitors greater performance. Ventilation, always a problem aboard monitors, particularly when on duty in the South was improved by the installation of more powerful blowers. In armament the Canonicus carried two massive fifteen inch smooth bore Dahlgrens. In all, nine Canonicus class monitors were built: Canonicus, Catawba, Mahoptac, Manayunk, Manhattan, Oneota, Saugus, Tecumseh and the Tippicanoe.

Because of the similarity of the exteriors of these monitors, visual identification of individual monitors was not always easy. To make identification easier, it was common practice to paint the turrets of the monitor with unique patterns colored stripes.

A third class of monitor was also developed during the Civil War, but proved to be largely unsuccessful. This class of monitor were the light draft monitors commonly called the Casco class. The Casco class monitors were developed to meet the needs of the navy to operate along the shallow waters of the Mississippi River and it various tributaries. The Casco monitors were to have a draft of only six feet, and a freeboard of fifteen inches and were to be lightly armored compared to their larger cousins the Passaic and the Cononicus. John Ericsson drew the original plans, which were altered by naval chief engineer Alban Stimers. Stimers’s alterations included redesigning the class to have a draft of only four feet, but at the same time increased the armor on the decking and turret. Additional weight was also added to the Cascos by the placement of internal ballast tanks designed to be flooded to lower the ship’s silhouette when going into battle, and improved heavier engines. Unfortunately the added weight to the design sank the vessels into the water until they had less than three inches of freeboard. Leakage and seeping of water in the vessels made them nearly useless. The only way to make the ships serviceable was to build the deck up with an additional twenty-two inches of decking that only added an additional 130 tons of displacement to the already too heavy vessels. Though fifteen Casco class monitor were constructed, only eight were eventually reconstructed to make them serviceable, and none of these saw action on the western rivers. Overall, the class was a tremendous failure.

A note on the names of these vessels seems in order. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles directed that new vessels being built should illustrate the pride of the American nation by having distinctly American names. As a result, many of the monitors received names of American rivers, lakes, mountains, cities or Indian tribes. This practice created a list of names that in some cases proved nearly unpronounceable. The practice nevertheless remained in place until 1869, when the new Secretary of the Navy, Adolph A. Borie, ordered the wholesale renaming of ships, often adopting new names based on classical Greek figures or gods. This practice has somewhat complicated for many the tracing of these Civil War era ships.

1855

The USS Roanoke

The first Roanoke was launched on December 13, 1855, at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Norfolk, Virginia. She was assigned as the flagship for the Home Squadron and was assigned to return former president of Nicaragua, William Walker to the United States. After the return trip from Columbia she was decommissioned at the Boston Navy Yard in 1855.

Recommissioned in 1858, the Roanoke resumed her duty as flagship for the Home Squadron. She cruised to the West Indies, Central America, and to Japan. In May 1860 she was decommissioned in Hampton Roads, Virginia, only to be recommissioned at the outbreak of the Civil War. After seeing battle while attached to the North Atlantic Squadron, theRoanoke was in the Hampton Roads during the CSS Virginia’s attack on March 8, 1862. The Roanoke took on 268 men from the Congress and the Cumberland and transported them to New York by March 25, 1862.

She was decommissioned the same day and refitted by the Novelty Iron Works, New York. She was cut down and given three-revolving turrets. She kept her single funnel, but all rigging and masts were removed. During sea trials it was discovered that her three turrets caused the Roanoke to roll dangerously and her hull was not sufficiently strong to bear the weight of the turrets and the concussion of continuous firing.

The Roanoke was recommissioned on June 20, 1863 at the New York Navy Yard and reassigned to Hampton Roads, Virginia as a harbor defense ship. Decommissioned after the Civil War on June 20, 1865, in January 1874 the Roanoke was recommissioned as the flagship of the Port Admiral of New York. She was taken out of commission August 5, 1882 and sold for scrap September 27, 1883, at Chester, Pennsylvania.

1862

The efforts by the Confederates to construct an ironclad in Hampton Roads were well known to the Federal authorities. Throughout the summer of 1861, newspaper reporters as well as the general public visited the Gosport Yard to observe the work on the Virginia. Newspapers throughout the South carried regular updates on the progress of the conversion. Similar stories were also reported in Northern papers. As the work proceeded, it became evident to the North that if the Confederacy succeeded in launching an armored vessel, there was not a Union ship that could challenge her.

John Ericsson It was the need to offset this potential Confederate naval superiority that moved the United States Navy Department to appoint an Ironclad Board of naval officers to seek and evaluate plans for the construction of ironclad vessels for Federal service. On August 3, 1861, Union Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles published an announcement calling on designers to submit plans for ironclad warships to the Navy Department. This was not the first time that the United States had toyed with the idea of building ironclad vessels. Since the late 1840s, the navy had considered plans for designing and testing ironclads. In 1842, Robert L. Stevens won a contract to construct a floating iron battery for the navy. However, the Stevens battery was never completed.

The first successful launching of ironclad vessels for United States service occurred during the summer of 1861, not under the direction of the navy, but rather the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. The War Department ordered the building of ironclad gunboats on the Mississippi under the direction of Samuel Pook and James Eads. These ironclad river steamers known as “Pook Turtles” or “Eads’ Gunboats” would be used throughout the war on the western rivers. Still, the command of the Union Navy remained conservative and cautious in approaching iron shipbuilding.

Following Welles’s call for plans, a number of designers presented proposals to the Ironclad Board for consideration. Among the designers who submitted proposals was Cornelius Bushnell. Bushnell controlled several railroads in Connecticut, and now ventured to enter the world of naval architecture. With the help of naval constructor Samuel Pook, Bushnell developed a plan for an ironclad steamer. Bushnell’s ship, to be called the Galena, was a conventional ship with armor constructed of iron bars laying over iron rails. To verify the seaworthiness of his ship, Bushnell sought out the advice of the renowned engineer John Ericsson. According to Bushnell, after Ericsson had confirmed that the Galena’s design was sound, Ericsson produced a model of an “impregnable iron battery” that he had proposed to French Emperor Napoleon III in 1854. The model showed a ship with an almost submerged hull and a single revolving turret fixed to the deck containing a single cannon. Though Napoleon had not accepted the plan, Ericsson emphasized to Bushnell that the battery’s design was viable and that the ship could be built very quickly.

Bushnell was so impressed with Ericsson’s model that he took it to Secretary Welles, who agreed that the design had “extraordinary and valuable features” and that it should be submitted to the Ironclad Board for consideration. Bushnell presented Ericsson’s model to the Board, but it was rejected as too outlandish for consideration. Bushnell then persuaded Ericsson himself to appear before the Board to defend the design.

Ericsson’s defense of his design was obviously successful. When the Ironclad Board submitted its final report to Secretary Welles, Ericsson’s was one of three designs recommended for approval. The contract offered to Ericsson was in the amount of $275,000, but it stipulated that the ship must be completed in one hundred days, and that it must prove successful in every way or payment would be withheld.

USS Galena

Displacement: 738 tons

Length: 210 feet

Beam: 36 feet

Draft: 11 feet

One of the first Ironclads built by the US Navy, it was launched February 14, 1862 at Bushnell, Mystic, Connecticut. The ship was towed to Fort Monroe, Virginia and arrived April 14 to join the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The Galena traveled up the James River with gunboats Port Royal and Aroostook on May 8, 1862 in the pursuit of Richmond. The ships destroyed the Confederate battery Rock Wharf and engaged the battery at Mother Tynes’ Bluff knocking out all but one gun.

Joined by the Monitor and the Naugatauk on May 12, the Galena and other gun boats explored James Island and then Harrison’s Bar at City Point. The Galena stopped two steamers with contraband and engaged them. At Drewry’s Bluff numerous hits perforated her armor killing 12 and wounding 15 men. On June 27, 1862, General McClellan boarded her for a reconnaissance mission to establish a new camp near Harrison’s Landing.

The gun deck

Gun ports, USS Galena In July 1862 theGalena was used as protection for the daily movement of Army transports and supply ships up the James River. She was detached from the James River Flotilla in September 1862 and assigned to picket duty at Hampton Roads. She was sent on May 21, 1863 to Philadelphia for repairs. Her iron plating was stripped off and the Galena was turned into a wooden hull ship. After refitting she was sent to the Gulf of Mexico, before leaving New Castle, Delaware February 1864, she was iced in. After being towed out to sea, leaks formed and the Galena had to put into Baltimore for repairs. She finally joined the West Gulf Blockading Squadron in Pensacola on May 20, 1864. She was assigned to blockade Mobile, Alabama, and participated in the attacks on the fort. She was then transferred to the East Gulf Blockading Squadron out of Key West.

USS Galena gunports

Decommissioned in November 1864 for repairs and sent back to the North Atlantic Squadron in Newport News, Virginia, she served as a picket and patrol ship at the mouth of the Nansemond River and the James River. She was then decommissioned in Portsmouth on June 5, 1865 and then recommissioned for movement to Hampton Roads. Her final decommissioning was June 1865. Through survey the Galena was condemned in 1870 and broken up at the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1872.

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The USS Passaic

Displacement: 844 tons

Length: 200 feet

Beam: 46 feet

Draft: 10 feet 6 inches

A single-turreted coastal monitor built by the Continental Iron Works, Greenport, New Jersey under sub-contract from John Ericsson. She was launched August 30, 1862 and commissioned November 25, 1862 and assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Hampton Roads, Virginia. She was immediately sent to the Washington Navy Yard for repairs on November 29, 1862. President Lincoln and members of his cabinet visited the ship on December 6, 1862. The Passaic returned to Hampton Roads and on December 26 was towed by the State of Georgia along with the Monitor toward Beaufort, North Carolina. The Passaicleaked badly and worked her pumps the whole trip as well as throwing all her shot overboard to stay afloat. She reached Beaufort on New Year’s Day, the Monitor did not.

USS Passaic at sea

Off of Port Royal, South Carolina, the Passaic along with the Marblehead captured the South Carolina schooner Glide on February 23, 1863. The Glidewas laden with cotton. The Passaic saw action at Fort McAllister, and on April 7, 1863 took part in the attack on Charleston, South Carolina. She was severely damaged during this engagement and sent back to New York for repairs. After repairs, the Passaic returned to Charleston, South Carolina and took part in the operations. She was Rear Admiral Dahlgrn’s flagship during the attack on Fort Moultrie and she assisted in the rescue of the Lehigh when she ran aground.

On June 16, 1865 she was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and was laid up there from 1878-1874. The Passaicwas repaired and recommissioned on November 24, 1876. After serving as a Receiving ship at Washington DC from 1878-1882. The Passaic was moved twice, first to the Naval Academy from 1883-1892 and then to the Boston Navy Yard form 1893-1894. She was loaned to the Massachusetts Naval Militia in 18968 and then to the Naval Militia in Brunswick, Georgia.

On May 16, 1898 the Passaic was recommissioned and assigned to the Naval Auxiliary Force and sent to Key West and Pensacola, Florida. She was decommissioned at the Pensacola Navy Yard September 11, 1898. The Passaic was sold to Frank Samuels October 10, 1899.

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The USS Keokuk

Displacement: 677 tons

Length: 159 feet 6 inches

Beam: 36 feet

Draft: 8 feet 6 inches

Originally named the Moodna, but renamed the Keokuk before being launched on December 6, 1862. She was built by Charles W. Whitney in New York. The Keokuk was an experimental ironclad steamer, she had two stationary, cylindrical gun towers, each with three gun ports, she was often mistaken for a double turreted monitor. The Keokuk’s armor was alternating horizontal iron bars and strips of wood.

This new ironclad joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron for an attack on Charleston. She arrived in Newport News on March 13, 1863 and after repairs to her propeller (fouled by a buoy) she headed back to Port Royal, South Carolina, March 26, 1863. The Keokuk laid buoys with the Bibb to guide Rear Admiral Du Pont’s arrival to the strongly fortified Confederate harbor.

Due to low tide the Keokuk moved ahead in the battle and lay less 600 yards from Fort Sumter in a narrow channel. She remained there for an half hour receiving the “undivided attention” of the Confederate guns. The Keokuk was hit 90 times with one-fifth piercing the armor at or below the water line. She finally withdrew and spent the night trying to stay afloat. On April 8, 1863, a breeze came up and the Keokuk sank off Morris Island South Carolina.

1863

The USS Osage

Displacement: 523 tons

Length: 180 feet

Beam: 45 feet

Draft: 4 feet 6 inches

A single-turreted river monitor that was launched January 13, 1863 by James B. Eads at he Union Iron Works, Carondelet, Mo. Acting Vol. Lt. Joseph P. Couthany was in command when she left Cairo, IL to patrol duty in the Red River. The Osage participated in the expedition up the Black and Washita Rivers on February 29 to March 5, 1863. She also participated in the expedition up the Red River to Alexandria, La and assisted in the capture of Fort De Russy, La on March 14, 1863.

The Osage was transferred to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and participated in the attack on the Spanish Fort, Mobile, Alabama on March 28, 1865. The next day the Osage was sunk by a torpedo in the Blakely River, Alabama. The hulk was raised and sold at auction at New Orleans November 22, 1867.

The USS Manhattan

Displacement: 2,100 tons

Length: 223 feet

Beam: 43 feet 4 inches

Draft: 11 feet 6 inches

A single-turreted monitor built by Perine, Secor & Co., New York, NY at the yard of Joseph Caldwell, Jersey City, NJ and launched on October 14, 1863. She was commissioned on June 6, 1864 and immediately sailed for the Gulf of Mexico joining Rear Admiral Farragut’s Squadron readying for the Battle of Mobile Bay. August 5, 1864 the Manhattan, with three other monitors formed a screen that protected the wooden ships from Fort Morgan’s guns. During the battle the Manhattan engaged the Confederate ram Tennessee and then received her surrender. The Manhattan then continued to fire on the fort.

November 1864, the Manhattan sailed to New Orleans then the Red River and remained there until May 1865. Sent to New Orleans the Manhattan was laid up in ordinary and on June 15, 1869 was renamed the Neptune only resume her original name on August 10.

1870 she was taken to Key West and then Philadelphia where she was fitted out in 1872-1873. Recommissioned on November 19, 1873 and returned to Key West for fleet maneuvers. April 25, 1876, the Manhattan sailed to Port Royal, South Carolina, and patrolled the coast until June 1877. Re-stationed at Norfolk, VA that same year the Manhattan eventually was towed up the James River and anchored at Brandon then moved to City Point in 1881, then to Richmond in 1888 and finally to Philadelphia where she was laid up at League Island. She was decommissioned on December 14, 1901 and she was sold March 24, 1902.

The USS Saugus

Displacement: 1,034 tons

Length: 235 feet

Beam: 43 feet 8 inches

Draft: 11 feet 6 inches

A single-turreted monitor that was built by Harlan & Hollingsworth & Co. Wilmington, Delaware and launched December 16, 1863. The Saugus was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron at Fort Monroe, Virginia. She was to protect army transports heading up the James River in an attack on Richmond. The river was laced with Submarine torpedoes, Confederate batteries and a Confederate Flotilla of ironclad ships.

On June 21, 1864 the Saugus was struck by a 10-inch round shot from a Confederate battery at Dutch Gap. The turret and deck plates were damaged. The Saugus remained upriver during the summer assigned with challenging southern ironclads if they come down river and supporting troop transports. Late in the summer of 1864, the Saugus was put in at Gosport Navy Yard for repairs. In September the SaugusCanonicusGlaucus, and Janiata were ordered to Port Royal, South Carolina to influence Confederate intelligence to think an attack would be on Charleston, South Carolina, instead of Wilmington, NC. When Admiral Farragut declined an appoint to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron plans were scrapped for attacking Wilmington and the Saugus was reassigned to the James River.

In one engagement on the James the turret was damaged and the Saugus went back to Norfolk for repairs. She was then towed to New Inlet, NC by the Nereus and arrived at Fort Fisher December 24, 1864. The Saugus participated in the attack , but General Bulter withdrew. January 13, 1865, the Saugus and the other ironclads once again opened fire on Fort Fisher. At 5:00pm one of Saugus’ guns burst injuring one seaman, in addition there was damage to the turret, pilot house and armor. On January 23, 1865 she was sent to the Washington Navy Yard for repairs. She never made it, orders came to turn around and head for the upper James River were fighting had exsullated. When the Saugus arrived the battles were over as the Confederate Flotilla had lost too many ships to continue. She then headed for the Washington Navy Yard, while in port, the eight conspirators from Lincoln’s assassination were incarcerated on the Saugus and the Montuck below decks under heavy guard. They were transferred on April 30, 1865 to the Arsenal Penitentiary.

The Saugus was decommissioned on June 13, 1865 and sat at the Washington Navy Yard. April 30, 1869 she was recommissioned and sent to the West Indies during the Cuba revolt. December 31, 1869 she was decommissioned at Key West, Florida. During this time she was renamed the Centaur on June 15, 1869 but reassumed the name Saugus on August 10, 1869.

The Saugus was towed to Philadelphia for repairs and then recommissioned November 9, 1872 and was based at Key West until transferred to Port Royal, South Carolina in 1876. On October 8, 1877 she was decommissioned at Washington and was condemned in 1886. The Saugus was sold May 25, 1891.

The USS Dictator

Displacement: 3,033 tons

Length: 312 feet

Beam: 50 feet

Draft: 20 feet

A single-turreted monitor built by Delamater Iron Works, New York, NY under contract with John Ericsson and was launched December 26, 1863. Assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, the Dictator cruised the Atlantic coast from December 15, 1864 until she was placed out of commission on September 5, 1865 at League Island Navy Yard. She remained in ordinary until 1869.

The Dictator was recommissioned on July 20, 1869 and was assigned to the North Atlantic Fleet until June 28, 1871. She was put back in ordinary at the New York Navy Yard until January 12, 1874 when she recommissioned back to the North Atlantic Station. Her final decommissioning was June 1, 1877 and was sold September 27, 1883.

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USS Kickapoo

Displacement: 970 tons

Length: 220 feet

Beam: 57 feet

Draft: 6-7 feet

A double-turreted monitor built by G.B. Allen & Co. St. Louis. Missouri in 1864. Commanded by Lt. David C. Woods, she serves the Mississippi squadron off the mouth of the Red River during the summer and then is transferred to the West Gulf Blockading Squadron on October 1 and is stationed at Mobile Bay.

On December 23, 1864 Lt. CDR. Meriweather P. Jones assumes command. In the spring of 1865 the Kickapoo is engaged as a torpedo sweeper and on March 28, 1865 she rescued the crew of the Milwaukee after it struck a torpedo. The next day the Kickapoorescues two men form the Osage when it met a similar fate. In June she sailed to New Orleans and was decommissioned on July 29, 1865.

June 15, 1869 the Kickapoo was renamed the Cyclops and then in August to Kewaydin. Finally the ship was sold at auction September 12, 1874.

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USS Puritan

Displacement: 3,265 tons

Length: 351 feet

Beam: 50 feet

Draft: 20 feet

The Puritan was originally designed as a double-turreted ironclad monitor based on John Ericsson’s plans. The builder had a long debate with the Navy and the Puritan was built with a single turret. She was contracted to Ericsson on July 28, 1862 and Ericsson sub-contracted it to Continental Iron Works Greenpoint, NY and the machinery to Allaire Works New York, NY. The Puritanwas launched July 2, 1864, but due to delays in casting the 15-inch smooth bore guns, she was never completed. Construction was suspended in 1865.

The decommissioned Puritan began to deteriorate. Then, in 1875, Secretary of the Navy George Robeson decided to carry out work on five Civil War ironclads. He had wanted to build five new monitors, but Congress would only appropriate funds to repairs. So Robeson started building five new monitors under the guise of repairing the deteriorating Civil War-era ships. The five new monitors were given the same names as the old Civil War ironclads, including the Puritan. A scandal resulted when it came to light that Robeson was building new ships with money set aside for repairs. When Robeson’s plan was discovered the old Puritan was turned over to John Roach of Chester, Pennsylvania, as partial payment for the “unauthorized” construction of the new Puritan. The new monitor kept the name Puritan.

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USS Camanche

Displacement: 800 tons

Length: 200 feet

Beam: 46 feet

Draft: 11 feet

A single-turreted monitor built in 1863 by Secor Brothers, Jersey City, NJ It was disassembled and shipped to California on board the Aquila. The Aquila sank at her dock in San Francisco November 14, 1863 with the Camanche still onboard. Salvaged from the Aquila’s hulk, the Camanche was assembled and launched November 14, 1864.

The Camanche was laid up at Mare Island through most of her career. She served as a training ship for the California Naval Militia from 1896-1897. She was sold at Mare Island March 22, 1899.

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USS Wyandotte

Displacement: 2,100 tons

Length: 224 feet

Beam: 43 feet

Draft: 11 feet 6 inches

A single-turreted monitor originally named the Tippecanoe was built by Miles Greenwood at the shipyard of John Litherbury, Cincinnati, Ohio. She was launched on December 22, 1864 but not completed until 1866 in New Orleans. On June 15, 1869 she was named the Vesivius and on August 10, 1869 renamed theWyandotte.

Between the years 1870-1872, the Wyandotte was laid up at Key West, Florida, and the Philadelphia Navy Yard, In 1873-1874 she went through extensive repairs by John Roach, Chester, PA. 1876 she was assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron off the east coast until 1879. The Wyandotte participated in exercises and training cruises out of Hampton Roads, VA and as a station ship in Washington. In 1885 she was placed in ordinary in Richmond and then Norfolk and finally was laid up.

Washday on the USS Wyandotte

In 1896, she was transferred to the Connecticut state militia and then recommissioned in April 1898 during the Spanish-American War. Stationed at Boston she remained there to the wars end and returned to Philadelphia September 9, 1898. Decommissioned on September 20, 1898 and then sold for scrap January 17, 1899.

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1865

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Displacement: 1,175 tons

Length: 225 feet

Beam: 45 feet

Draft: 6 feet

A single-turreted, twin-screw monitor built by George W. Lawrence & Co. Portland, Maine and was launched on July 25, 1865. The Wassuc was a casco-class monitor intended for service in shallow waters. The ship’s design sacrificed armor plating for the shallow draft and was fitted with ballast compartments designed to lower the ship during battle. A serious problem was discovered with this class. There was only three-inches of freeboard, so on June 24, 1864 the Wassuc‘s deck was to be raised 22 inches. She was laid up in the Boston Navy Yard and saw no commissioned service. Renamed the Stromboli on June 15,1869 but resumed the name Wassuc on August 10, 1869. She was sold for scrap on September 9, 1875.

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1876

The USS Miantonomoh

Displacement: 3,990 tons

Length: 263 feet 1 inch

Beam: 55 feet 4 inches

Draft: 14 feet 6 inches

A double-turreted, twin screw monitor was built by John Roach & Son, Chester, PA and launched December 5, 1876. The incomplete Miantonomoh was completed in the New York Navy Yard between 1883-1891, the “New Navy” monitor was commissioned October27, 1891. During the next year the Miantonomoh cruised the east coast between New York and Charleston. Late in 1892 she was laid up at New York and then between 1892 1895 she supported fleet target practice and served the naval militias of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The Miantonomoh was decommissioned at Philadelphia November 20, 1895 and recommissioned March 10, 1898 at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. The Miantonomoh joined the Cuban blockade May 5, 1898 and served until the blockade was lifted August 14. She returned to Philadelphia and was decommissioned at League Island March 8, 1899.

The USS Miantonomoh

She remained in reserve until 1906 when the Miantonomoh was loaned to the Maryland Naval Militia. She was recommissioned at Philadelphia on April 9, 1907 and for the next months she operated out of Norfolk, VA and participated in the Jamestown Exposition commemorating the tercentenary of the first permanent English settlement in the New World. The Miantonomohreturned to League Island and was decommissioned December 21, 1907. Laid up in Philadelphia until December 17, 1915 when the Miantonomoh was authorized for use as a target by the 5th Naval District. Her hulk was sold to J.G. Hitner and W.F. Culter of Philadelphia on January 26, 1922.

1883


The USS Terror

A twin-screw, double-turreted ironclad monitor that was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, New Hampshire. It was launched March 19, 1863 and was refitted in 1864 with the addition of a “hurricanes deck” that extended between the two turrets and over the machinery spaces amidships. The Agamenticusoperated off the east coast between Maine and Massachusetts until she was decommissioned at the Boston Navy Yard on September 30, 1865. On June 15, 1869 she was renamed the Terror. She was used against the Spanish in 1898 and sold.

The USS Amphitrite

Displacement: 3,990 tons

Length: 262 feet 9 inches

Beam: 55 feet 10 inches

Draft: 14 feet 6 inches

A double-turreted, twin screw coastal monitor built by Harlan and Hollingsworth, Wilmington, Delaware and launched on June 7, 1883. TheAmphitrite was assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron and in the summer of 1895 she operated on the eastern seaboard. There is where flaws were discovered with the design, one example is the lack of ventilation in the boiler room, especially in southern heat. Alterations and repairs were made at Norfolk Navy Yard and the Amphitrite was reassigned to dills off of Hampton Roads and headed for Key West arriving there on January 9, 1896. For six months she participated in militia drills and returned to Norfolk June 29, 1896. She served in militia instruction until July 9 when she accompanied the Atlantic Squadron on drills off of Tolchester Beach, MD.

Detached from the Atlantic Squadron on May 7, 1897, the Amphitrite served as a training ship for the instruction of gun captains. She was recommissioned October 2, 1897 and visited a variety of ports on the east coast finally stopping at Port Royal, South Carolina for three months. As the Spanish-American War broke out, the Amphitrite was sent to Key West on April 8, 1898.

On May 1, 1898 the Amphitrite and her sister ship the Terror joined Admiral William T. Sampson’s fleet coming east from Cuba. The smaller ships were towed and the Captain of the Iowa disliked the duty of towing the Amphitrite. They arrived at San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 11. The Amphitrite participated in the shelling of San Juan, during the action the gunner’s mate in the turret died of the heat. Toward the end of the battle the Amphitrite lost half of her main battery the aft turret was disabled and an armored hose on the exhaust pipe exploded. The Amphitrite returned to Key West for repairs. 

USS Amphitrite as a hotel ship

The Amphitrite operated blockade duty out of Key West for two and half months. She then returned to San Juan on August 2, 1898. The Americans took the lighthouse on August 6 and the Amphitrite sent a relief party on shore August 9 and then leaving Porto Rico. Eventually arriving in Boston where she remained from September 29, 1898 to February 25, 1899. The Amphitrite was chosen for gunnery work and received two classes a year of 60 men. She continued this duty at various ports until decommissioned November 30, 1901 for repairs at the Boston Naval Yard. Recommissioned December 1, 1902 and was assigned to the Naval Training Station at Newport and served there until early 1904. The Amphitrite was then sent to Guantanamo Bay , Cuba for station duty until June 19, 1907 when she was placed out of commission at League Island.

Back in commission on June 14, 1910, the Amphitrite served training reservists at St. Louis, Missouri then to New Orleans and finally to New Haven, Connecticut in May 1916. She was assigned to the Connecticut Naval Militia until being moved to New York to help in laying submarine net in the Narrows. Returning the Connecticut Naval Militia on March18, 1917, she carried out training duty with drafts of men from Yale and Harvard.

The hotel ship USS Amphitrite

USS Amphitrite As A Hotel Ship

At the outbreak of World War I, the Amphitrite returned to the Narrows to guard the submarine nets under the 3rd Naval District. She was assigned to examine all ships entering or leaving the New York Harbor and help American submarines pass through the nets. June 13, 1917, the steamship Manchuria was outside of the New York Harbor in a thick fog when she collided with the Amphitrite and causing damage below the water line. The Manchuria also scraped the Amphitrite’s bow and her propeller caught a cable and held the Amphitrite for 20 minutes. The Manchuria abandoned ship and was beached and the Amphitrite continued her duty. On December 14, 1917 another accident occurred when the British steamship the British Isle ran into her in a snow squall doing damage to the Amphitrite and the torpedo nets.

Following repairs she left for Hampton Roads on October 24, 1918 and began running target practice and was sent back to the Narrows on November 8, 1918. The Amphitrite was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on May 31, 1919. She was sold to A.L.D. Bucksten of Elizabeth City, NC on January 3, 1920.

Amphitrite was stripped of her superstructure and the ship was towed to Beaufort, South Carolina, where she was converted into a floating hotel. Then towed to Florida for the same purpose where it is rumored that gambling was carried out and Al Capone’s name mentioned with ownership. She was then chartered by the government in 1943 and towed to Elizabeth City, NC. The ship was used as housing for workers building a new naval air station. In the spring of 1950, the Amphitrite was towed to Baltimore, MD and was to be used as a restaurant and hotel at the new Chesapeake Bridge at Sandy Point. Business was slow and she was sold in 1951 and taken back to Baltimore to be refitted as a support ship for oil exploration in Venezuela, the project was never started. The Amphitrite was sold for scrap and by the spring of 1952 it was complete.

The USS Monadnock

Displacement: 3,990 tons

Length: 262 feet 3 inches

Beam: 55 feet 5 inches

Draft: 14 feet 6 inches

A double-turreted, twin-screw monitor built by the Continental Iron Works, Vallejo, CA and was launched September 19, 1883. Assigned to the Pacific Squadron on the west coast participating exercises and training cruises. During the Spanish-American war she was ordered to the Philippines and arrived August 16, 1898. The Monadnock operated blockade duty in the Manila-Marvile-Cavite area until December 1899. December 26 she was relocated to Hong Kong where she cruised the rivers of China, particularly the Yangtze to protect American interests.

Between January 27- October 7, 1901 she stood almost continuous duty at the mouth of the Yangtze River protecting a foreign settlement at Shanghai. The Monadnock continued this type of duty until November 1904. In February 1905 she returned to Cavite and operated in the Philippines until she was decommissioned March 10, 1909. Recommissioned in reserve on April 20, 1911 she resumed operations outside of Olangapo and was placed on full commission January 31, 1912 at Cavite. For the next seven years the Monadnock cruised with submarines and towed targets. Decommissioned on March 24, 1919, her name was struck from the Navy list February 2, 1923 and her hull was sold on the Asiatic Station August 24, 1923.

1891

There is no further information on this vessel.

1898

The USS Wyoming

Displacement: 3,225 tons

Length: 225 feet 1 inch

Beam: 50 feet

Draft: 12 feet 6 inches

The Wyoming was the number 10 single turret Monitor built by the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, California in 1898. She was stationed at Mare Island Navy Yard, San Francisco, California and was commanded by V.L. Cottman. From 1903-1905 she cruised the Pacific Ocean as far as Central America. She was put in for repairs in 1905 until 1908 at the Mare Island Navy Yard. 1909 her name was changed to Cheyenne. During that year test were made on her new oil burning engines. 

From August 1910-1912 the Cheyenne was assigned to the Washington State Naval Militia. In 1913 she was refitted as a submarine tender and then was assigned to the 2nd Division, Pacific Torpedo Flotilla. During April and May 1914 she carried refugees from Ensenada and San Quentin, Mexico to San Diego, California.

The USS Cheyenne

In April 1917 the Cheyenne was assigned to Port Angeles, Washington, a mobilization point, with submarines H-1 and H-2. After a complete overhaul at Puget Sound, she was reassigned to San Pedro, California in June 1917. The Cheyenne then went to the Atlantic Coast where she served as a flagship and tender in Division 3, Flotilla 1, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet. On December 17, 1918 she was re-assigned to Division 1, American Patrol Detachment. From January 15 to October 9, 1919 she was stationed off Tampico, Mexico. She was decommissioned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

1900

The USS Arkansas

Displacement: 3,225 tons

Length: 255 feet

Beam: 50 feet

Draft: 12 feet 6 inches

A single-turreted monitor built at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock, Co., Newport News, Virginia and launched November 10, 1900. Her first assignment was to the Naval Academy as an instruction and cruise ship. Reassigned to the North Atlantic Fleet, the Arkansas cruised of the east coast, the Gulf of Mexico and the West Indies. She continued to make summer practice cruises for the Naval Academy. In 1906 she was reassigned the Naval Academy for instruction.

Renamed the Ozark on March 2, 1909, she was assigned to the District of Columbia Naval Militia June 1910 to March 1913. In July 1913 she was refitted as a submarine tender at the Norfolk Navy Yard. After special duty in Mexico, the Ozark participated in Atlantic Fleet maneuvers in 1915 and operated out of the Chesapeake Bay in 1916.

The Ozark was ordered to SubDiv6, Atlantic Fleet on April 6, 1971 and cruised to Tampico, Mexico to protect American and Allied interest. December 1918 she was sent to cruise off Key West, Central America, and the Panama Canal Zone. The Ozark was decommissioned on August 20, 1919 at Philadelphia and sold January 26, 1922.

1901

The USS Florida

Displacement: 3,225 tons

Length: 252 feet

Beam: 50 feet

Draft: 12 feet 6 inches

A single turret monitor built by Lewis Nixon at Elizabeth, New Jersey. Launched November 30, 1901. Placed in commission on June 18, 1903 under the command of Commander John C. Fremont. She was signed to the coastal squadron until 1906 when she was used for training at the Naval Academy. 1908 her name was changed to the Tallahassee and was based in Norfolk, Virginia. The Tallahassee was used as a submarine tender from 1918-1919. At the close of World War I she was taken out of commission in 1919, but then reassigned in 1920 to the Naval Reserve Force, Sixth Naval District. The Tallahassee earned the World War I Victory Metal for service from April 6, 1917- November 12, 1918. In 1922 she was sold at Charleston, South Carolina.