USS Monitor

The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia has been designated as the center to hold all artifacts and salvage of the USS Monitor. The USS Monitor Center will house all of this eventually.


Photos: Jim Janke
August 2004

The 9-foot propeller on display just inside the entrance of the Mariners' Museum. Note the damage to the blades.

The four-fluked anchor. It was recovered in 1983.

The turret upside down. The two 11-inch Dahlgren cannons were removed in late August. The gun carriages had been removed earlier. The cannons will undergo a five-year preservation regimen. The turret itself will take ten years. The preservation is a slow electrolytic process to replace salts that have become impregnated in the metal over the years the Monitor has been on the bottom of the ocean. The turret was recovered in August 2002.

A red signal lantern. The Monitor sank late at night in the early hours of December 31, 1862 in a storm off Cape Hatteras, NC. The last sight of the Monitor in the distance from the rescue ship before the Monitor disappeared in the blackness was a red distress signal lantern atop her turret. This could be that very lantern!

Sixteen officers and crewmen went down with her. The rest were rescued in a frightening effort in which they had to cross the deck of the Monitor in heavy seas to get into a small, tossing boat. Many men, frightened to immobility, refused to make the attempt even though they were told they would die anyway if they stayed aboard the sinking ship.

An ironstone dish retrieved from the wreck of the Monitor. The dish is actually white; poor lighting gives the photo a yellow tint. The dish is about 10 inches long.

More artifacts raised from the wreck. My favorite is the soap dish. Just like ones today.

Photos: Jim Janke

The Monitor Center under construction. The replica of the ship is visible (reddish-brown). Picture taken from the Mariners Museum Web site.

A model of what the replica of the USS Monitor was supposed to look like.

The replica of the USS Monitor.

July 1862, James River/Hampton Roads, Virginia
Library of Congress