Posted Jan 30, 2013By
On this day – January 30, 1862 – The first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor is launched.
The USS Monitor, designed by the Swedish-born engineer and inventor John Ericsson, was the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy during the American Civil War. Monitor’s hull was built at the Continental Iron Works in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York, and the ship was launched there on 30 January 1862.
She is most famous for her participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads on 9 March 1862, where the Monitor duelled with the casemate ironclad CSS Virginia (the former frigate USS Merrimack) of the Confederate States Navy. This was the first-ever battle fought between two ironclads.
Monitor became the prototype for a new warship type dubbed “monitor” after the original. Many more were built, including river monitors and deep-sea monitors, and they played key roles in Civil War battles on the Mississippi and James Rivers. Some had two or even three turrets, and later monitors had improved seaworthiness. Many designs had a rounded deck so fragmentation from enemy fire would ricochet, rather than penetrate. (Wikipedia, AP, US Department of the Navy)
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