The Monitor’s Crew

Commanders

John Worden

Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden became the toast of the nation after the battle of the Ironclads, March 9, 1862. He was the commander of USS Monitor, a “cheesebox on top of a raft,” during its iconic fight with the CSS Virginia. He was wounded in the battle, but that did not keep him from becoming one of the most beloved heroes of the time. He was honored by the state of New York with a Tiffany’s ceremonial sword for his role in the battle of Hampton Roads.

This battle, a victory for neither the Union nor Confederacy, was seen as a turning point in the Civil War. Monitor could protect the Union from Confederate ironclads, like the Virginia. Worden and the ship’s designer, John Ericsson, were seen as the saviors of the Union for keeping the Virginia from destroying the Union fleet at Hampton Roads. Because of the battle and the roles Worden and Ericsson played in it, each was honored by having their names engraved in the side of one of the two Dahlgren guns to represent their significance to the ship’s success. Worden’s naval career continued until 1886 when he retired as a rear admiral. He died 11 years later.

Since his death in 1897, the U.S. Navy has named four ships, as well as the parade field at the U.S. Naval Academy and Fort Worden, Port Townsend, Washington, in Worden’s honor. Worden was an influential player in the technological advances of the Civil War and was well beloved by the men who served under him, as well as by the nation he protected. He leaves us with valuable lessons in leadership, innovations in technology, and courage.

Thomas Selfridge, Jr. was born on February 6, 1836, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, the son of Captain Thomas O. Selfridge, Sr., a distinguished naval officer. An 1854 graduate of the Naval Academy, he was assigned to the Independence.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Selfridge was stationed on the Cumberland, and participated in the battle against the Virginia on March 8, 1862. Selfridge was given command of the Monitor by Secretary of the Navy Welles, relieving Lieutenant Greene on March 10, 1862. His command lasted only four days after it was found that Commodore Goldsborough had already passed the command of the Monitor to Lieutenant William Jeffers. In his short command, Selfridge ordered that a new pilot house be built to replace the one destroyed in battle. On March 13, 1862, Lt. Jeffers took command of the Monitor.

For the remainder of the war, Selfridge saw almost constant action aboard several ships. He is best remembered for his command of the Union gunboat Cairo, which was lost to a Confederate torpedo on the Yazoo.

Selfridge retired from the Navy in 1898. He died in 1924.


William Nicholson Jeffers

William Jeffers was born on October 16, 1824, in Swedesboro, New Jersey. The son of a lawyer and part of a maritime family, he decided in 1840 on a naval career. As a midshipman, he sailed around the Horn on the United States, one of the oldest ships in the fleet. He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1846. Early in his career, Jeffers took particular interest in gunnery and published a manual on the subject.

On March 12, 1862, he took command of the Monitor. After commanding the Monitor for a month, Jeffers wrote his analysis of the ship, noting especially its gunnery faults. He proposed many improvements to the ship, all of them well argued and factual; however, the Navy Department ignored his suggestions.

In May, the Monitor was ordered up the James River to Richmond with the ironclad USS Galena and three wooden ships. The ships arrived at Drewry’s Bluff on May 15, 1862. At a narrow, blocked point in the river, the Union flotilla came under the Confederates’ guns on Drewry’s Bluff. The Monitor moved forward to help, but could not raise her guns to fire up toward the bluff. After nearly four hours of shelling, the Union gunboats withdrew. The Galena was badly damaged, but the Monitor remained unharmed.

Following the battle at Drewry’s Bluff, Jeffers was ordered to return the Monitor to Hampton Roads, where she remained throughout the summer on blockade duty. In August 1862, Jeffers was relieved of command of the Monitor.

Jeffers’s service record reports that due to poor health, he was not given further sea duty. Instead, he was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance in Philadelphia and later in Washington. Following the war, Jeffers was again assigned to sea duty, this time in command of the Swatara. In this capacity he returned John Surrat, one of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination, to the United States from Italy to stand trial.

Having attained the rank of commodore, Jeffers died in 1883 of kidney disease.

Thomas Stevens was born on May 27, 1819, in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of distinguished naval officer Thomas H. Stevens, Jr. On December 14, 1836, he enlisted as a midshipman in the US Navy. His first appointment was to the frigate Independence. After graduating from the Naval Academy, Stevens spent much of his service assigned to the Pacific Squadron and he distinguished himself during the war with Mexico.

On March 25, 1862, Stevens was ordered to the Maratanza, a double-ended wooden steamer. The ship was stationed in Hampton Roads with engagements in both the York and James Rivers. On May 18, 1862, the Maratanza and the Monitor engaged a small Confederate force near City Point on the James River. The action resulted in the capture of the CSS Teaser.

On August 9, 1862, Stevens was took command of the Monitor, replacing Jeffers. He was in command for less than two months, and during his command the Monitor saw almost no action.

Having previously gained the attention of Commodore Charles Wilkes, Stevens was reassigned at Wilkes’s request to command the new 955-ton gunboat Sonoma. Stevens joined Wilkes’s West Indies Squadron. Wilkes’s command was specially organized to track the Confederate commerce raiders Florida and Alabama, then operating in the Caribbean.

Stevens later served aboard other monitors, commanding both the Patapsco off Fort Sumter in 1863 and the Winnebago at Mobile Bay in 1864. He retired from the Navy in 1896, and died in 1898.


John Payne Bankhead

John Bankhead was born on August 3, 1821, at Fort Johnston, South Carolina. His father was General James Bankhead, a brigadier general who distinguished himself in the Mexican War. Bankhead entered the Navy in August 1838 at the age of 17. His first ship was the frigate Macedonian. In 1844, he graduated second in his class from the Naval School in Philadelphia and served in the Coast Survey. While in Vera Cruz during the Mexican War, Bankhead served under his father.

During the Civil War, Bankhead was stationed on the Pembina and was sent to Charleston, South Carolina, for blockade duty. In the middle of August the Pembina was ordered to New York for repairs. Flag Officer DuPont wrote a letter on Bankhead’s behalf to Captain Gustavus Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, requesting that he be transferred to an iron vessel. Bankhead was given the Monitor and took command from Thomas Stevens on September 10, 1862.

Shortly after Bankhead arrived on the Monitor, the boilers and engines were condemned, and on October 3, 1862, the ironclad arrived at the Washington Navy Yard for repairs. By November the ship’ repairs were complete and it returned to Hampton Roads.

Orders were issued on December 24, 1862, for the Monitor to move to Beaufort, North Carolina. There the ship would join the blockade off Charleston. On Christmas Day the Monitor was ready for sea, but bad weather delayed departure until December 29. On December 31, 1862, a storm hit the seas off Hatteras, and the Monitor, under tow by the USS Rhode Island, foundered and sank, taking 16 men with it. Bankhead himself was saved, but suffered from exposure. After his recovery he was given command of the side-wheeler Florida and participated in blockade duty off Fort Fisher, North Carolina. In 1864, Bankhead was transferred to the Otsego, but was eventually relieved of command due to poor health. Bankhead ended the war in command of the Wyoming, which was stationed in the Pacific searching for the CSS Shenandoah.

The Wyoming was transferred to the Asiatic Squadron, and Bankhead remained in command until 1867 when, due to poor health, he requested to be relieved of duty. He died that same year on his way home to the United States.

Officers


Samuel Dana Greene

Samuel Dana Greene was born on February 1, 1840, in Cumberland, Maryland. Greene entered the Navy as an acting midshipman on September 21, 1855. After graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1859, he was stationed on the steam sloop Hartford, which was sent to China and cruised the seas of the Far East. When the Civil War broke out, the ship was ordered to return home. Greene arrived in Philadelphia on December 2, 1861. After a short leave, he volunteered for duty on the Monitor.

The shortage of junior officers gave Greene, at the age of 20, the chance to serve as executive officer on the Monitor, under the command of Lt. John L. Worden. Greene’s responsibilities included the assigning of crew to their watches and quarters, and as gunnery officer, he trained the crew on the two Dahlgrens in the turret. During the battle between the Monitor and the Virginia on March 9, 1862, Greene had command of the turret and personally fired each shot directed at the Virginia.

After Lieutenant Worden was wounded during the battle, Greene assumed command of the Monitor. Uncertain of the damage done to the Monitor’s steering gear, he ordered a break in action and had Monitor steer into shallow water. He determined that the ship was able to continue the battle and ordered the Monitor to again pursue the Virginia. But by the time the Monitor returned to action, the Virginia was already steaming toward Norfolk. Seeing the Confederates in apparent retreat, Greene did not pursue them, but returned to protect the USS Minnesota.

Greene remained in command of the Monitor from the time of commanding officer Worden‘s injury until Thomas Selfridge took command the next day. He then returned to the duties of executive officer until the Monitor was lost at sea. At that time he was ordered to be the Florida‘s executive officer and was later transferred to the Iroquois, where he finished the war in the Pacific, unsuccessfully tracking the CSS Shenandoah.

Greene remained in the Navy, serving as an instructor at the Naval Academy and seeing limited sea duty. His career came to a tragic end in 1884 when, in the depth of “anxiety,” he shot himself while on duty in New Hampshire.


William Flye, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant

Born October 25, 1814, William P. Flye lived in Lincoln County, Maine, and married Mary Elizabeth Perkins, with whom he had two children. He was a sailor by trade and was described as 5’7″ tall with brown hair, blue eyes, and a light complexion. He was appointed Professor of Mathematics in the US Navy on December 7, 1841. He spent time on the USS John Adams, USS Jamestown, and at the Naval Observatory before he resigned on March 7, 1857. He was promoted to acting volunteer lieutenant on December 1, 1861, and stationed on the US receiving ship North Carolina. He was onboard the USS Roanoke on March 8, 1862, when the CSS Virginia wreaked havoc on the Union fleet. He was transferred to the USS Monitor on March 9. He left the crew of the Monitor in October because he was transferred to the USS Underwriter. He spent time on the USS Kensington, at the Naval Yard in Memphis, Tennessee; on the USS Osage, the USS Benton, and the USS Lexington before he was discharged on December 24, 1865, at the age of 51. Partially disabled due to deafness incurred during the war, Flye lived until 1898.

Born in 1833, in Dutchess County, New York, Edwin Velie Gager was a sailor by trade. He married twice, had no children with his first wife, and sired five children with his second. He was described as 5’7″ tall, with gray eyes, dark hair, and a fair complexion. He enlisted in Brooklyn, New York, in April of 1861. He was assigned as acting master of the USS Monticello, until March 10, 1862, when he was assigned to the USS Monitor. He resigned from the ship in July and moved to Newark, New Jersey. He died in 1914.


Louis N. Stodder, Acting Master

Louis Napoleon Stodder was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1837. He married Watie Howland Alderich and had two children. Although these two were never divorced, they did separate, and Stodder remarried Rose B. Champlin and had one child with her. He was a sailor by occupation and was appointed acting master in the US Navy on December 26, 1861.

In late January he joined the Monitor’s crew. During the battle of Hampton Roads, Stodder was stationed at the wheel which turned the turret. He was knocked unconscious when a shell struck the turret as he was leaning against it. He recovered several hours later.

During the sinking of the Monitor, Stodder cut the hawser line connecting the Monitor to the USS , a task which had already claimed two lives. For this, commanding officer John P. Bankhead gave him a commendation. He was transferred to the crew of the USS Rhode Island as acting volunteer lieutenant. He went on to command USS Release and USS Adela before he was transferred to the USS Niphon and USS Calypso.

After the war, he was assigned to the Potomac Flotilla protecting Washington, D.C. following President Lincoln’s assassination. He went on to join the US Revenue Cutter Service and became a captain. He died of a stroke and pulmonary edema following a nervous breakdown in October 1911.

Described as 5’5″ tall, with light blue eyes, light brown hair, and a light complexion, Frederickson was born on the Island of Møn, Denmark, circa 1834. He married and had two children. At the beginning of the Civil War, he and his family were living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He enlisted December 4, 1861, in New York as acting master’s mate for the USS Monitor. During the sinking of the Monitor, Fredrickson was seen giving Peter Williams a watch and overheard saying, “Here, this is yours; I may be lost.” These are the last words Fredrickson is known to have said, as he was lost with the Monitor and 15 other crew members when the ship went down off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on December 31, 1862.

Born June 5, 1827, Alban Crocker Stimers was appointed as 3rd assistant engineer on the USS Water Witch in April of 1849. After a series of ships and several promotions, he was named the superintendent for the Ericsson’s Battery Project on October 4, 1861, where he oversaw the construction, launch, and early career of the USS Monitor because of this. He was a “technical passenger” during the ship’s trial trip from New York to Hampton Roads, Virginia, and he was present for the battle between the Monitor and the CSS Virginia on March 9, 1862. He operated the crank that turned the turret, which could not be stopped during the battle because of malfunction. He was thrown to the floor during the battle, when a shell hit the turret as he was leaning his hand against it.

He left the Monitor in April and collaborated with the Monitor’s designer, John Ericsson, to build the next class of ironclads. He was on the Passaic during the attack on Fort McAllister, South Carolina, March 5, 1863. He observed and reported on monitors in action at Fort Sumter, South Carolina on April 7, 1863. Between May and August 1863 he was tried and acquitted by a Court of Inquiry for spreading falsehoods and conduct unbecoming an officer. He was in charge of the failed project to construct light-draft Casco-class monitors and he was assigned to the USS Tunxis, Wabash, and Powhattan. He resigned from the US Navy on August 3, 1865, and continued working as a civil engineer. He died of smallpox in 1876.


Isaac Newton, 1st Assistant Engineer

Born in New York City, Isaac Newton, Jr. had a degree in civil engineering and was working as a pilot/engineer/boat builder/machinist/mechanic before the Civil War. He served on an ocean liner in 1857-58, worked on his Engineers’ Certificate in 1859, and received a commission as the 1st assistant engineer on the USS Roanoke in June of 1861. He was transferred to the USS Monitor on February 7, 1862; was again transferred to be superintendent of construction for the Office of the General Inspector of Ironclads in August of that year; and spent the rest of the war working on ironclad construction. He resigned in February 1865 and went on to become chief engineer for Croton Aqueduct, Public Works, City of New York. He slit his own throat because of depression caused by poor health on September 25, 1884.

Albert Bogart Campbell enlisted in New York on August 26, 1859, as a 3rd Assistant Engineer. He was promoted to 2nd assistant engineer in 1861. He joined the crew of the Monitor on February 7, 1862, and was transferred to the USS Saranac in June of the same year. He took a leave of absence from the US Navy in January of 1863, possibly due to illness, and resigned May 5, 1863. Not much else is known about Campbell.

Born circa 1835 in Baltimore, Maryland, Robinson Woollen Hands, a mechanical engineering student before the war, joined the US Navy as a 3rd assistant engineer on February 1, 1862. He was assigned to the USS Monitor soon after, serving on the ship for much of its life. He was killed in action when the ship sank with 15 other crew members on December 31, 1862.

Mark Trueman Sunstrom was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1844. He was a bookkeeper before the war, but was commissioned as 3rd assistant engineer on February 1, 1862. He was soon assigned to the USS Monitor and stayed on the ship through the battle of Hampton Roads and through the sinking. He survived and was eventually promoted to 2nd assistant engineer. He resigned from the US Navy, because of an injury incurred during service, on November 10, 1865. He went back to Baltimore where he worked as a clerk. He died of consumption of the throat in 1875.

Joseph Watters was born circa 1837, in Bordentown, New Jersey. A machinist, he married Caroline Kelly and had two children. He joined the US Navy as a 3rd assistant engineer on October 22, 1860. He was assigned to the USS Crusader and Winona before he was promoted to 2nd assistant engineer in December of 1862. He spent a short time on the USS Ossipee, Seneca, Mingoe, Chippewa, and Chattanooga before he was transferred to the USS Monitor to replace the injured Acting Chief Engineer Albert Campbell on December 28, 1862. He was only on the Monitor three days before the ship sank. He survived the sinking and was transferred to the twin-turreted ironclad USS Kickapoo. He died in service on this ship in September 1866 from yellow fever.


William F. Keeler

William Keeler was born on June 9, 1821, in Utica, New York. He was the oldest son of a successful businessman, Roswell Keeler, and Mary Plant. In 1846, he married Anna Dutton and moved to La Salle, Illinois.

On December 17, 1861, at the age of 40, Keeler obtained a naval appointment through Congressman Owen Lovejoy. He was given the position of acting assistant paymaster and clerk and was sent to New York. The exact date he was assigned to the Monitor is not known, but it is believed to have been some time in January 1862. While serving as the paymaster aboard the Monitor, Keeler sent many letters home to his wife. These letters reveal details of life aboard the ironclad and Keeler’s opinions of the crew. He survived the sinking of the Monitor on December 31, 1862. He was not transferred to another ship immediately after the sinking; instead, he spent about a month settling the Monitor’s accounts. On February 7, 1863, Keeler was stationed on the Florida, where he remained until the end of the war.

Keeler then moved his family from Illinois to Mayport, Florida. Keeler worked as a customs collector, elections inspector, and railroad paymaster until his death in 1886.

Daniel Logue was born in Otisville, New York, on August, 27 1832. Before the war, he was a physician and lived with his wife and two children in New York City. He was commissioned as an acting assistant surgeon in the US Navy on January, 25, 1862, and was assigned to the Monitor in February.

Logue was one of the first men to test one of Monitor’s new, below-the-waterline, flushing toilets. He accidentally operated the valves incorrectly and was blown off the head by a jet of water. He was the medical officer on board through the battle of Hampton Roads until his resignation in October 1862. Even though the ironclad withstood 22 shots, during the battle, Logue had five injured men to treat after the fight: Moses Stearns (hernia), Alban Stimers (slight concussion), Louis Stodder (concussion), Peter Truscott (severe concussion), and John L. Worden (facial burns, eye injury, and concussion).

He resigned from the Navy on October 7, 1862. After the war, he resided in Long Island, New York, where he worked as a surgeon. In 1905, he was described as 5’7″ with blue eyes, brown hair, and a blonde complexion. He died in 1914.

Crew

Francis Banister Butts was born January 27, 1844, in Providence, Rhode Island. He was a farmer in Cranston, Rhode Island, until he enlisted on August 16, 1861, as a corporal in Battery E, 1st Regiment, Rhode Island Light Artillery. He was described as 5’9-1/2″ tall with blue eyes, auburn hair, and a florid complexion. He enlisted in the Navy on October 3, 1862, for a one-year term as a landsman. He served on the US receiving ship North Carolina and in the Washington Navy Yard before his assignment on the USS Monitor. He survived that ship’s sinking and was transferred to the USS Brandywine, later serving on the USS Stepping Stones and USS Flag. He was discharged from his Navy post as paymaster’s clerk on April 23, 1865. After the war he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was married. Butts wrote an account of the Monitor’s sinking in 1883 that exaggerated many details of the ship’s demise. He died in 1905.

Siah Hulett was born on October 4, 1839, to John and Molly Hulett, who were both slaves of Shirley Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia. Siah worked as a carpenter on Colonel Hill Carter’s plantation until the night of May 18, 1862, when he rowed out to the Monitor which was moored off of City Point in the James River.

The armed guards on deck yelled, “Boat, ahoy,” and shot at the approaching boat.

Captain Jeffers yelled to his crew, “Boarders!” calling every available crewmen to the deck to ready to fight.

But, instead, they found “a poor trembling contraband – begging not to be shot…” Siah was described as 5’6-1/2″ to 5’8-1/2″ tall with brown eyes, black hair, and a dark complexion. He enlisted in the US Navy for a three-year term as a ship’s boy the next day using his master’s name as his own– Siah Hulett Carter. He was the first contraband to join the Monitor’s crew. He told the other men that Hill Carter had warned the slaves not to join the Union Navy because, “the Yankees would carry them out to sea…& throw them overboard.”

He survived the sinking of the Monitor on Dec. 31, 1862, and went on to serve on the USS Brandywine, Florida, Belmont, Wabash, and Commodore Barney. While onboard the last of these, he suffered from frost bite and was discharged on May 19, 1865. He lived in St. Mary, Maryland and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after the war, where he worked as a laborer. He married Eliza Tarrow and they had 13 children. He died in 1892.

Born in Austria in 1836, Wilhelm Durst immigrated to America in November of 1861. He was a porter for the few months leading to his enlistment in the Navy on February 14, 1862, for a three-year term. He was assigned as a coal heaver on the USRS North Carolina for a short while, but was transferred to the USS Monitor 11 days later. He deserted in November 1862, but re-enlisted in February 1863 as a second-class fireman under the alias “Walter David” claiming he was 32 years old and a machinist.

Durst was described as 5’6″ tall, with hazel eyes, brown hair, a dark complexion, with a “WD” tattoo on his right wrist. He subsequently served on USRS North Carolina, USS Catskill, and USS Princeton.

After the war, he married Ester Walensteine and had two children. He later married again, Anna Neuman and had four more children. His desertion charges were dropped in 1906 and he worked in Philadelphia as a jewelry peddler. Durst died of pneumonia in 1916.

On April 19, 1945, Andrew Fenton died in Vineland, New Jersey. The 101-year-old man claimed to be the last surviving crew member of the USS Monitor. Born circa 1844, Fenton married and had one child. While he is purported to have served on the Monitor, no records of naval service have been found.

Born in Scotland circa 1838, James R. Fenwick enlisted in Boston as an ordinary seaman for a two-year term on August 22, 1861. He was described as 5’5″ tall, with blue eyes, auburn hair, a light complexion, and “J.R.F. Dundee” tattooed on his right forearm. He served on the USS Ohio and Sabine; while on furlough, he married Mary Ann Duffy in October 1862. He was transferred to the USS Monitor on November 7, 1862, and was promoted to quarter gunner soon after. He was arrested for fighting with a fellow crewman during his time onboard.

During the ship’s sinking on December 31, 1862, Fenwick and one other sailor volunteered to cross the storm washed deck in order to cut the remaining hawser line connecting the USS Monitor and the USS Rhode Island. This task cost him his life, as he was swept off the deck, never to be seen again. He left behind a pregnant wife.

George Spencer Geer was born on May 17, 1836, in Troy, New York. He was a machinist who worked in the shop that built the USS Monitor’s boiler. He married Martha Clark Hamilton and had six children. Geer enlisted in the US Navy in New York on February 16, 1862, as a first-class fireman. Described as 5’7-1/2″ tall, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion, he often wrote letters to his father and wife in his spare time. He was transferred from the USRS North Carolina to the USS Monitor in February 1862 and was promoted to engineer yeoman in May of that year. He survived the sinking of the Monitor and was assigned as acting 3rd assistant engineer on the USS Galena on January 19, 1863. He served on the USS Vermont and Philadelphia until the war’s end. He was honorably discharged in December of 1865 and went on to work as an engineer. He died of swamp fever in 1892 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Born in Ireland, circa 1826, Patrick Hannan was a machinist by trade. Hannan enlisted in New York as a first-class fireman for a three-year term in February 1862 and was transferred to the USS Monitor that same month. He survived the ship’s sinking and was transferred to the USS Brandywine and North Carolina before he was assigned to the USS Keokuk. He participated in DuPont’s attack on Charleston until the Keokuk foundered off Morris Island. He was then transferred to the USS Vermont and Ohio. He was discharged May 1863 and worked as an engineer until he died of pneumonia in 1892.

Born in Ireland, circa 1834, James Malone was a chandler, or a supplier of materials for ships, who enlisted for a one-year term in New York as a landsman. Malone was only 4’4-1/2″ tall, making him the shortest USS Monitor crew member. He had hazel eyes, black hair, and a dark complexion. He served on the Monitor from the beginning of November 1862 until the sinking on December 31, 1862. He survived and was transferred to the USS Brandywine.

Lawrence Murray was born in New York City, circa 1828. A cook, he enlisted in the US Navy for a three-year term as a landsman in February 1862. He was described as 5’6″ tall, with blue eyes, a bald head, and a fair complexion. He was transferred to the USS Monitor on March 6, 1862, to serve as a wardroom steward.

One day, while on shore leave, Murray got drunk, came back to the ship, took an axe and attacked another crew member. He was placed in double-irons. He managed to get to the side of the ship and jumped overboard, but because he was in irons, he drowned. His body was found three days later. “Geer noted that no one would lament his loss, as all Lawrence Murray did was drink and gamble his time and money away without sending support to his wife and child in California.”

Jacob Nicklis was born circa 1841 in Buffalo, New York. He was a sailor by occupation and re-enlisted in Buffalo on October 13, 1862, for a one-year term as an ordinary seaman. He was described as 5’7-1/2″ tall, with gray eyes, light hair, and a ruddy complexion. He was assigned to New York Navy Yard and Washington Navy Yard, before he was transferred to the USS Monitor on November 7, 1862. During his short time on the Monitor he wrote letters to his father, which give us insight into his life onboard. He drowned with the ship on December 31, 1862.

Daniel Toffey was born in Pawling, New York, on December 22, 1837. Married with three children, Toffey worked as a clerk before the war. He was also the nephew of Monitor’s first commanding officer, Lt. John L. Worden, and thus served as captain’s clerk for his uncle. He acted as a messenger during the battle of Hampton Roads, relaying messages from the pilot house to the turret. He was wounded during this battle on March 9, 1862, when a shot hit the pilothouse injuring the Captain (his uncle), too. On April 17, 1862, Congress presented Toffey with a gold medal for his service.

He worked as a cattle broker after the war, and later became an alderman in Jersey City, New Jersey. He died in 1893.