USS Monitor

The Monitor was the first armored, turreted vessel, setting the pattern that would dominate naval warfare for many decades.

When it was learned the Confederates were converting the captured USS Merrimack into an ironclad CSS Virginia, inventor John Ericsson hurriedly built the Monitor. Her outward appearance was so simple she was called "a cheesebox on a raft," but she contained about forty patentable inventions by the brilliant Ericsson, who donated his patents to the Union cause,

The Navy rushed the Monitor to Hampton Roads, Virginia, just in time to stop the Merrimack's devastation of the unarmored Union ships there. Monitor’s fight with the Merrimack made her the most famous vessel of the Civil War, "The Little Ship That Saved the Nation." After supporting the Union Army's advance on the rebel capital, Monitor headed south to fight but sank in a storm. Her turret and engine have been recovered and are displayed at the Mariners’ Museum and Park (MM&P) in Newport News, Virginia.

As the sole Union ship afloat may not be able to manage the trip to Philadelphia, we will construct a replica of the ironclad USS Monitor to represent the Navy of the Civil War. Although the Monitor was built in Brooklyn, Philadelphia built ironclads such as the New Ironsides and was the home to the Navy’s ironclads for many years. We plan to recreate the Monitor for the Navy & Marine Corps 250th Celebration, and are exploring building a floating steel replica of the Monitor to be a lasting legacy of the Celebration.

Credit: All paintings courtesy of The Mariners' Museum and Park, Newport News

The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial is interested in displaying the replica of the Monitor, the first armored, turreted warship, next to the New Jersey, the ultimate armored, turreted warship. The replica Monitor will be displayed for many decades to come, adding another historic ship on the Delaware to open the window of history for students and fascinate residents and tourists alike.

USS Monitor & Her Crew
Credit: Naval History & Heritage Command