Weehawken Mon - History

Weehawken Mon - History

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(Mon: dp. 1,875, 1. 200'; b. 46'; dr. 10'6", s. 5 k., cpl.
76; a. 1 15" D.sb., 1 11" D.sb.; cl. Passaic)

The first Weehawken—a single-turreted monitor— was launched on 5 November 1862 at Jersey City, N.J., by Zeno Secor & Co., sponsored by Miss Nellie Comstock; and commissioned on 18 January 1863, Capt. John Rodgers in command.

The Passaic-class Weehawken was an improved and enlarged version of Monitor. Accompanied by Iroquois and towed by Boardman, she departed New York on 18 January 1863, bound for Port Royal, S.C., and duty with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. The three vessels encountered gale force winds and high seas off the New Jersey coast on 20 January. Iroquois and Boardman headed for sheltered waters, but Rodgers pressed on in Weehawken. The Passaic ironclads differed from the original Monitor in having less deck overhang and a rounded lower hull. This enabled Weehawken, unlike her famous prototype, to ride out a heavy sea with relative ease. Rodgers reported that "the behavior of the vessel was easy, buoyant, and indicative of thorough safety." Weehawken put into Norfolk for minor repairs, leaving on 1 February 1863 in tow of screw steamer Lodona. She arrived at Port Royal on 5 February 1863, and deployed in the blockade off Charleston, S.C.
On 7 April 1863, Weehawken led the Union fleet in the first major naval assault against Confederate installations in Charleston harbor. The attack failed miserably, and the fleet withdrew after only 40 minutes. During the action, Weehawken took 53 hits and had a torpedo explode beneath her keel without suffering serious damage. Shortly after the attack, Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren replaced Rear Admiral Samuel F. DuPont as commander of the squadron.

After repairs, Weehawken proceeded to Wassaw Sound, Gal, on 10 June 1863 to block the expected sortie of ironclad CSS Atlanta. The Confederate ram and two escort steamers showed themselves early on the morning of 17 June 1863. Weehawken and Nahant weighed anchor to meet Atlanta which ran hard aground only moments after entering the sound. Weehawken Commenced firing at 0515 and ceased a quarter of an hour later when the Confederate vessel surrendered. With only five shots, Rodgers blew the roof off Atlanta's pilothouse and pierced the grounded ram's casemate putting two gun crews out of action. News of the capture electrified the North. Capt. Rodgers became a national hero and received commendations from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, President Abraham Lincoln, and Congress. He was promoted to commodore and ordered north to command the new ironclad Dictator. Both Weehawken and Atlanta returned to Port Royal.

Weehawken resumed operations against Confederate strongholds in and around Charleston harbor. On 10 and 11 July 1863, Union ironclads Catskill, Montauk Nahant, and Weehawken shelled Confederate batteries at Fort Wagner on Morris Island, S.C., to cover an Army amphibious landing under Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore. Despite additional bombardments on 18 and 24 July, the monitors failed to silence the fort, leaving General Gillmore's troops pinned down on the beach caught between a murderous hail of cross fire. Fort Wagner was finally reduced during a naval bombardment of Forts Gregg, Sumter, and Moultrie on 17 August 1863.

Weehawken, Montauk, Nahant, Passaic, and Patapsco now took aim at Fort Sumter, pounding it to rubble during two separate bombardments on 23 August and 1 and 2 September 1863. Admiral Dahlgren demanded Sumter's surrender on 7 September and ordered Weehawken to deploy in a narrow channel between the fort and Cumming's Point on Morris Island. There, Weehawken grounded, taking concentrated gunfire from Fort Moultrie and Sullivan's and James Island. The vessel was refloated with the help of tugs on 8 September, and received a "Well done!" from Admiral Dahlgren for outstanding defensive gunnery while aground. Weehawken repaired at Port Royal until 4 October 1863, then returned to Charleston for routine patrol duty in the harbor.

The next two months were uneventful, and Weehawken lay anchored off Morris Island during a moderate gale early on the morning of 6 December 1863. Suddenly, the ironclad signalled for assistance and appeared to observers ashore to be sinking. Attempts to beach the vessel failed, and she sank bow first five minutes later in 30 feet of water. A court of inquiry found that Weehawken had recently taken on a considerable amount of heavy ammunition in her forward compartments. This change excessively reduced her forward freeboard, causing water to rush down an open hawse pipe and hatch during the storm. As the bow sank, and the stern rose, water could not flow aft to the pumps and the vessel foundered.

Four officers and 27 enlisted men drowned aboard Weehawken.

Weehawken: A township significant for its rich history

Recreational amenities in Weehawken are diverse with numerous parks, playgrounds and athletic facilities, including the Weehawken Waterfront Park and Recreation Center. The park opened in 2007 with 16 acres of recreation space.

The Township of Weehawken in Hudson County was formed on March 15, 1859 from portions of Hoboken and North Bergen.

Encompassing 1.5 square miles, Weehawken is situated on the western shore of the Hudson River along the southern end of the New Jersey Palisades and across from Midtown Manhattan. It also is the location of the western terminus of the Lincoln Tunnel.

At Weehawken's southeastern corner is Weehawken Cove, which defines Weehawken's border with Hoboken the township's northern boundary is shared with West New York.

Geographically, Weehawken has several distinct neighborhoods, including Downtown, The Heights, Uptown and The Waterfront, which since the 1990s has been developed for transportation, commercial, recreational and residential uses.

The Weehawken World War I Memorial, created by Italian-born sculptor Giovanni (John) Rapetti, is dedicated to the 21 sons who made the supreme sacrifice during the war. The memorial is located at Boulevard East and Hudson Pace. Rapetti, who was born in 1862, was a long-time resident of Weehawken and died in his home in 1936.

Several major roadways, including I-495, the New Jersey Turnpike and Routes 1, 3 and 9, keep residents accessible to points of interest throughout the tri-state area.

Significant for its rich history, Weehawken was utilized during the Revolutionary War as a lookout for the patriots to check on the British, who were situated in New York and controlled the surrounding waterways. The township also earned its place in history as the site of the Aaron Burr-Alexander Hamilton duel, which took place on July 11, 1804. The Alexander Hamilton Memorial -- constructed in 1806 and located in Hamilton Park -- stands as an historical marker of this famous event.

Opportunities for shopping and dining can be found along Park Avenue, the township's main commercial thoroughfare. Secaucus shopping centers, including the Secaucus Outlets and The Plaza at Harmon Meadow, are about 2 miles from Weehawken, further expanding residents' retail and restaurant options.

Recreational amenities in Weehawken are diverse and include parks, playgrounds and athletic facilities. Notable among these are Weehawken's Waterfront Park and Recreation Center, located along the banks of the Hudson River Weehawken Stadium/Louis A. Ferullo Field, a full-size football and baseball turf field and Weehawken's Dog Run, a fenced-in gravel area for the township's four-legged citizens.

The highly regarded Weehawken School District serves public school students in prekindergarten through 12th grade at two grammar schools and Weehawken High School. Options for higher education in Hudson County include Hudson County Community College, New Jersey City University and Saint Peters University, all located in Jersey City and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.

The Deadly History Of This New Jersey Township Is Terrifying But True

Weehawken, New Jersey is a wonderful town along the Hudson River with distinct neighborhoods and abundant history. Much of the town lies atop the Palisades Cliffs but, for decades, a deadly place stood just below the imposing wall of stone – the Weehawken Dueling Grounds. Most famous (or rather, infamous) for the fatal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, the site also hosted at least 18 other duels between 1700-1845. In a strange twist of fate, Alexander Hamilton’s son was also killed in a duel here, just 3 years before his own death. Dueling was a legal way to solve conflicts for many years, but had recently been criminalized at the time of the Burr-Hamilton Duel.

It was July 11th, 1804. Longtime political rivals, sitting Vice President Aaron Burr and former Secretary Of The Treasury Alexander Hamilton, took ferries into New Jersey from Manhattan. Their pistols were stored separately from their personage, hidden away in a carrying case. Only revealed just before the duel began, witnesses were also instructed to turn their backs to allow for plausible deniability. Still, there were several accounts of the event. Many believe Hamilton, who shot first, fired his gun into the air. Burr then fired at him, hitting Hamilton in his abdomen, fracturing his ribs. Due to the damage caused to his organs, he died the next day.

There are debates as to whether Hamilton intended to forfeit the dual or was simply a poor shot. Some also theorize that Burr may have also intended to fire a warning, but accidentally struck Hamilton instead. Whatever the case, Burr fled the scene and some say Hamilton collapsed on a boulder – this boulder still remains. Burr was charged with murder in both New York and New Jersey, but he was never convicted. While he did complete his term as Vice President, his political career was ruined.

The exact site of the dueling grounds is unknown, as the ledge used for dueling was destroyed in 1870 to make way for train tracks. The approximate location is marked with monuments and placards, and the boulder has been relocated to the same site, meant to commemorate the (tragic) historic event.


It's a strange time we live in. We can't just meet up and catch up and talk about coding. This also opens an opportunity to think more virtually about the idea of meetups.

I want to start Weehawken-Lang, a virtual meetup group about programming languages and tooling design (compilers, interpreters, build tools etc). It aims to be a casual place where people with different language backgrounds can exchange ideas about programming languages.

We also aim to function as a fundraiser for a good cause. Initially, we plan to donate primarily to April Hyacinth, a contributor to Scala compiler who has been sick for 6 months.

Daniel Spiewak (@djspiewak) and I (@eed3si9n) will each give a talk to kick off this event.

Talk: Scala 3: Python 3 or Easiest Upgrade Ever? by Daniel Spiewak

With the release of Scala 3 just around the corner and a large fraction of the library ecosystem now fully tested and releasing against that version, it's worth looking at the verdict on what this upgrade means for end users of Scala. In this talk, we will look at what has been surprisingly easy and what has been difficult in the process of migrating existing projects from Scala 2.13 to Scala 3.0, as well as sample a bit of what we can look forward to as industrial users of Scala once we make the (surprisingly short) leap.

Talk: Equality in Scala by Eugene Yokota

I'll give a talk on equality in Scala. Through untangling this one seemingly simple yet complicated concept of == , we will trace back the ancestral roots of Scala as a language, and how the design has evolved over the course of its history to achieve its ideals. This first talk is meant to be an ice-breaker to initiate conversations about different language design. The format for future meetings will be determined accordingly.

Chess-timer talk

Inspired by curry-on, we'll try chess-timer talks.

Chess-timer talks are our unusual solution to making tech conferences a more interactive, more fun, and better place for learning and discussions.

Speakers who choose to give a chess-timer talk are allowed 20 minutes of solo speaking time, and 20 minutes of discussion time. A Curry On representative operates a chess-timer during the presentation, switching between solo + discussion time budgets. When an audience member interrupts the talk to ask a question, for example, we switch the timer to deduct from discussion time.


  • Date and time: Wed, December 9th 6:00pm - 7:30pm EST
  • Location: Online
  • Register at Event Brite
  • Registration fee: $20 ($5 for students with STUDENT5 ) All proceeds will be donated

Code of conduct

Weehawken-Lang will use ScalaMatsuri 2020 Code of Conduct. We want to make it a fun experience for everyone, inclusive of gender, race, and many different backgrounds whom they may not meet in their daily life.


While the concept of ships protected by armor existed before the advent of the ironclad Monitor, [3] the need for iron plating on ship arose only after the explosive shell-firing Paixhans gun was introduced to naval warfare in the 1820s. The use of heavy iron plating on the sides of warships was not practical until steam propulsion matured enough to carry its great weight. Developments in gun technology had progressed by the 1840s so that no practical thickness of wood could withstand the power of a shell. [4] In response, the United States began construction in 1854 of a steam-powered ironclad warship, Stevens Battery, [5] but work was delayed and the designer, Robert Stevens, died in 1856, stalling further work. Since there was no pressing need for such a ship at the time, there was little demand to continue work on the unfinished vessel. [6] It was France that introduced the first operational armored ships as well as the first shell guns and rifled cannons. [7] Experience during the Crimean War of 1854–1855 showed that armored ships could withstand repeated hits without significant damage when French ironclad floating batteries defeated Russian coastal fortifications during the Battle of Kinburn. Ericsson claimed to have sent the French Emperor Napoléon III a proposal for a monitor-type design, with a gun turret, in September 1854, but no record of any such submission could be found in the archives of the French Ministry of the Navy (Ministre de la Marine) when they were searched by naval historian James Phinney Baxter III. [8] The French followed those ships with the first ocean-going ironclad, the armored frigate Gloire in 1859, and the British responded with HMS Warrior. [5]

The Union Navy's attitude towards ironclads changed quickly when it was learned that the Confederates were converting the captured USS Merrimack to an ironclad at the naval shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia. Subsequently, the urgency of Monitor ' s completion and deployment to Hampton Roads was driven by fears of what the Confederate ironclad, now renamed Virginia, would be capable of doing, not only to Union ships but to cities along the coast and riverfronts. Northern newspapers published daily accounts of the Confederates' progress in converting the Merrimack to an ironclad this prompted the Union Navy to complete and deploy Monitor as soon as possible. [9]

Word of Merrimack ' s reconstruction and conversion was confirmed in the North in late February 1862 when Mary Louvestre of Norfolk, a freed slave who worked as a housekeeper for one of the Confederate engineers working on Merrimack, [10] made her way through Confederate lines with news that the Confederates were building an ironclad warship. Concealed in her dress was a message from a Union sympathizer who worked in the Navy Yard warning that the former Merrimack, renamed Virginia by the Confederates, was nearing completion. [11] [b] Upon her arrival in Washington Louvestre managed to meet with Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and informed him that the Confederates were nearing the completion of their ironclad, which surprised Welles. Convinced by the papers Louvestre was carrying, he had production of Monitor sped up. Welles later recorded in his memoirs that "Mrs. Louvestre encountered no small risk in bringing this information . ". [13] [14]

After the United States received word of the construction of Virginia, Congress appropriated $1.5 million on 3 August 1861 to build one or more armored steamships. It also ordered the creation of a board to inquire into the various designs proposed for armored ships. The Union Navy advertised for proposals for "iron-clad steam vessels of war" on 7 August and Welles appointed three senior officers as the Ironclad Board the following day. Their task was to "examine plans for the completion of iron-clad vessels" and consider its costs. [15] [c]

Ericsson originally made no submission to the board, but became involved when Cornelius Bushnell, the sponsor of the proposal that became the armored sloop USS Galena, needed to have his design reviewed by a naval constructor. The board required a guarantee from Bushnell that his ship would float despite the weight of its armor [16] and Cornelius H. DeLamater of New York City recommended that Bushnell consult with his friend Ericsson. [17] The two first met on 9 September and again on the following day, after Ericsson had time to evaluate Galena ' s design. During this second meeting, Ericsson showed Bushnell a model of his own design, the future Monitor, derived from his 1854 design. Bushnell got Ericsson's permission to show the model to Welles, who told Bushnell to show it to the board. [18] Upon review of Ericsson's unusual design, the board was skeptical, concerned that such a vessel would not float, especially in rough seas, and rejected the proposal of a completely iron laden ship. President Lincoln, who had also examined the design, overruled them. Ericsson assured the board his ship would float exclaiming, "The sea shall ride over her and she shall live in it like a duck". [19] On 15 September, after further deliberations, the board accepted Ericsson's proposal. [18] The Ironclad Board evaluated 17 different designs, but recommended only three for procurement on 16 September, including Ericsson's Monitor design. [20]

The three ironclad ships selected differed substantially in design and degree of risk. Monitor was the most innovative design by virtue of its low freeboard, shallow-draft iron hull, and total dependence on steam power. The riskiest element of its design was its rotating gun turret, something that had not previously been tested by any navy. [d] Ericsson's guarantee of delivery in 100 days proved to be decisive in choosing his design despite the risk involved. [22]

Monitor was an unusual vessel in almost every respect and was sometimes sarcastically described by the press and other critics as "Ericsson's folly", "cheesebox on a raft" [23] [24] and the "Yankee cheesebox". [25] The most prominent feature on the vessel was a large cylindrical gun turret mounted amidships above the low-freeboard upper hull, also called the "raft". This extended well past the sides of the lower, more traditionally shaped hull. A small armored pilot house was fitted on the upper deck towards the bow, however, its position prevented Monitor from firing her guns straight forward. [26] [e] One of Ericsson's prime goals in designing the ship was to present the smallest possible target to enemy gunfire. [27] The ship was 179 feet (54.6 m) long overall, had a beam of 41 feet 6 inches (12.6 m) and had a maximum draft of 10 feet 6 inches (3.2 m). Monitor had a tonnage of 776 tons burthen and displaced 987 long tons (1,003 t). Her crew consisted of 49 officers and enlisted men. [28]

The ship was powered by a single-cylinder horizontal vibrating-lever steam engine, [29] also designed by Ericsson, which drove a 9-foot (2.7 m) propeller, [27] whose shaft was nine inches in diameter. [30] The engine used steam generated by two horizontal fire-tube boilers [31] at a maximum pressure of 40 psi (276 kPa 3 kgf/cm 2 ). [32] The 320-indicated-horsepower (240 kW) engine was designed to give the ship a top speed of 8 knots (15 km/h 9.2 mph), but Monitor was 1–2 knots (1.9–3.7 km/h 1.2–2.3 mph) slower in service. [29] The engine had a bore of 36 inches (914 mm) and a stroke of 22 inches (559 mm). [28] The ship carried 100 long tons (100 t) of coal. [29] Ventilation for the vessel was supplied by two centrifugal blowers near the stern, each of which was powered by a 6-horsepower (4.5 kW) steam engine. One fan circulated air throughout the ship, but the other one forced air through the boilers, which depended on this forced draught. Leather belts connected the blowers to their engines and they would stretch when wet, often disabling the fans and boilers. The ship's pumps were steam operated and water would accumulate in the ship if the pumps could not get enough steam to work. [27]

Monitor ' s turret measured 20 ft (6.1 m) in diameter and 9 ft (2.7 m) high, constructed with 8 inches (20 cm) of armor (11 inches in front at the gun ports) rendering the overall vessel somewhat top heavy. Its rounded shape helped to deflect cannon shot. [33] [34] A pair of steam-powered donkey engines rotated the turret through a set of gears a full rotation was made in 22.5 seconds during testing on 9 February 1862. [35] Fine control of the turret proved to be difficult the steam engines would have to be placed in reverse if the turret overshot its mark, or another full rotation would have to be made. The only way to see out of the turret was through the gun ports when the guns were not in use, or withdrawn for reloading during battle, heavy iron port stoppers would swing down into place to close the gunports. [36] Including the guns, the turret weighed approximately 160 long tons (163 t) the entire weight rested on an iron spindle that had to be jacked up using a wedge before the turret could rotate. [37] The spindle was 9 inches (23 cm) in diameter which gave it ten times the strength needed in preventing the turret from sliding sideways. [38] When not in use, the turret rested on a brass ring on the deck that was intended to form a watertight seal. In service, however, this proved to leak heavily, despite caulking by the crew. [37] The gap between the turret and the deck proved to be a problem as debris and shell fragments entered the gap and jammed the turrets of several Passaic-class monitors, which used the same turret design, during the First Battle of Charleston Harbor in April 1863. [39] Direct hits at the turret with heavy shot also had the potential to bend the spindle, which could also jam the turret. [40] To gain access to the turret from below, or to hoist up powder and shot during battle, the turret had to rotate facing directly to starboard, which would line up the entry hatch in the floor of the turret with an opening in the deck below. [41] [42] The roof of the turret was lightly built to facilitate any needed exchange of the ship's guns and to improve ventilation, with only gravity holding the roof plates in place. [43]

The turret was intended to mount a pair of 15-inch (380 mm) smoothbore Dahlgren guns, but they were not ready in time and 11-inch (280 mm) guns were substituted. [37] Each gun weighed approximately 16,000 pounds (7,300 kg). Monitor ' s guns used the standard propellant charge of 15 pounds (6.8 kg) specified by the 1860 ordnance for targets "distant", "near", and "ordinary", established by the gun's designer Dahlgren himself. [44] They could fire a 136-pound (61.7 kg) round shot or shell up to a range of 3,650 yards (3,340 m) at an elevation of +15°. [45]

After the duel between the two ironclads at Hampton Roads there was concern by some Navy officials who witnessed the battle that Monitor ' s design might allow for easy boarding by the Confederates. In a letter dated 27 April 1862 Lieutenant Commander O.C. Badger wrote to Lieutenant H. A. Wise, Assistant Inspector of Ordnance, advising the use of "liquid fire", scalding water from the boiler through hoses and pipes, sprayed out via the vents and pilothouse window, to repel enemy boarders. [47] Wise who was aboard and inspected Monitor after the battle responded in a letter of 30 April 1862: "With reference to the Monitor, the moment I jumped on board of her after the fight I saw that a steam tug with twenty men could have taken the upper part of her in as many seconds . I hear that hot water pipes are arranged so as to scald the assailants when they may dare to set foot on her." [48] The chance to employ such a tactic never arose. There are conflicting accounts as to whether such an anti-personnel provision was installed. [49] [50]

Commodore Joseph Smith, Chief of the Bureau of Yards and Docks, sent Ericsson formal notice of the acceptance of his proposal on 21 September 1861. Six days later, Ericsson signed a contract with Bushnell, John F. Winslow and John A. Griswold which stated that the four partners would equally share in the profits or the losses incurred by the construction of the ironclad. There was one major delay, however, over the signing of the actual contract with the government. [51] Welles insisted that if Monitor did not prove to be a "complete success", the builders would have to refund every cent to the government. [52] Winslow balked at this draconian provision and had to be persuaded by his partners to sign after the Navy rejected his attempt to amend the contract. The contract was finally signed on 4 October for a price of $275,000 [53] to be paid in installments as work progressed. [54]

Preliminary work had begun well before that date, however, and Ericsson's consortium contracted with Thomas F. Rowland of the Continental Iron Works at Bushwick Inlet (in modern-day Greenpoint, Brooklyn) on 25 October for construction of Monitor ' s hull. Her keel was laid the same day. The turret was built and assembled at the Novelty Iron Works in Manhattan, disassembled and shipped to Bushwick Inlet where it was reassembled. [55] The ship's steam engines and machinery were constructed at the DeLamater Iron Works, also in Manhattan. [56] Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers, who once served aboard Merrimack, [57] [58] was appointed Superintendent of the ship while she was undergoing construction. [59] Although never formally assigned to the crew, he remained aboard her as an inspector during her maiden voyage and battle. [58] [60]

Construction progressed in fits and starts, plagued by a number of short delays in the delivery of iron and occasional shortages of cash, but they did not significantly delay the ship's progress by more than a few weeks. The hundred days allotted for her construction passed on 12 January, but the Navy chose not to penalize the consortium. [61] The name "Monitor", meaning "one who admonishes and corrects wrongdoers", [53] was proposed by Ericsson on 20 January 1862 and approved by Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox. [62] While Ericsson stood on its deck in defiance of all his critics who thought she would never float, [63] Monitor was launched on 30 January 1862 to the cheers of the watching crowd, even those who had bet that the ship would sink straight to the bottom, [64] and commissioned on 25 February. [65]

Even before Monitor was commissioned, she ran an unsuccessful set of sea trials on 19 February. Valve problems with the main engine and one of the fan engines prevented her from reaching the Brooklyn Navy Yard from Bushwick Inlet and she had to be towed there the next day. These issues were easily fixed and Monitor was ordered to sail for Hampton Roads on 26 February, but her departure had to be delayed one day to load ammunition. On the morning of 27 February the ship entered the East River preparatory to leaving New York, but proved to be all but unsteerable and had to be towed back to the navy yard. Upon examination, the steering gear controlling the rudder had been improperly installed and Rowland offered to realign the rudder, which he estimated to take only a day. Ericsson, however, preferred to revise the steering gear by adding an extra set of pulleys as he believed it would take less time. His modification proved to be successful during trials on 4 March. [64] [66] [67] Gunnery trials were successfully performed the previous day, although Stimers twice nearly caused disasters as he did not understand how the recoil mechanism worked on Ericsson's carriage for the 11-inch guns. Instead of tightening them to reduce the recoil upon firing, he loosened them so that both guns struck the back of the turret, fortunately without hurting anybody or damaging the guns. [68]

Ericsson's revolutionary turret, although not without flaws, was a unique concept in gun mounting that was soon adapted and used on naval ships around the world. [69] His Monitor design employed over forty patented inventions and was completely different from any other naval warship at the time. [19] [70] Because Monitor was an experimental craft, urgently needed, hurriedly constructed and almost immediately put to sea, a number of problems were discovered during her maiden voyage to Hampton Roads and during the battle there. [71] Yet Monitor was still able to challenge Virginia and prevent her from further destroying the remaining ships in the Union flotilla blockading Hampton Roads. [72]

During the "boom time" of the Civil War, Ericsson could have made a fortune with his inventions used in Monitor, but instead gave the U.S. government all his Monitor patent rights saying it was his "contribution to the glorious Union cause". [73]

Monitor ' s crew were all volunteers and totaled 49 officers and enlisted men. The ship required ten officers: a commander, an executive officer, four engineers, one medical officer, two masters and a paymaster. [74] Before Worden was allowed to select, assemble, and commit a crew to Monitor, the vessel had to be completed. [75] The original officers at the time of Monitor ' s commissioning were:

Officers of USS Monitor at commissioning
(25 February 1862)
Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden, Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Samuel Greene, Executive Officer Third Assistant Engineer, Robinson W. Hands
Acting Master, Louis N. Stodder Fourth Assistant Engineer, Mark T. Sunstrom
Acting Master, J.N. Webber Acting Assistant Paymaster, William F. Keeler
First Assistant Engineer, Isaac Newton Jr. Acting Assistant Surgeon, Daniel C. Logue [74]
Second Assistant Engineer, Albert B. Campbell

Four of the officers were Line officers and responsible for the handling of the vessel and operation of guns during battle, while the engineering officers were considered a class unto themselves. [75] In Monitor ' s turret, Greene and Stodder supervised loading and firing of the two 11-inch Dahlgrens. Each gun was crewed by eight men. [76] In Worden's report of 27 January 1862 to Welles, he stated he believed 17 men and 2 officers would be the maximum number in the turret that allowed the crew to work without getting in each other's way. [77]

Monitor also required petty officers: among them was Daniel Toffey, Worden's nephew. Worden had selected Toffey to serve as his captain's clerk. Two black Americans were also among the enlisted men in the crew. [80]

Living quarters for the senior officers consisted of eight separate well-furnished cabins, each provided with a small oak table and chair, an oil lamp, shelves and drawers and a canvas floor covering covered with a rug. The entire crew were given goat-skin mats to sleep on. Lighting for each living area was provided by small skylights in the deck above, which were covered by an iron hatch during battle. The officer's wardroom was located forward of the berth deck where officers would eat their meals, hold meetings or socialize during what little spare time they had. It was well furnished with an oriental rug, a large oak table and other such items. Ericsson had personally paid for the costs of all the officer's furnishings. [81]

Many details of Monitor ' s history and insights of everyday crew life have been discovered from correspondence sent from the various crew members to family and friends while serving aboard the ironclad. In particular the correspondence of George S. Geer, who sent more than 80 letters, often referred to as The Monitor Chronicles, [f] to his wife Martha during the entire time of Monitor ' s service provide many details and insights into every chapter of the ironclad's short-lived history, offering a rare perspective of a sailor's experience on the naval front during the Civil War. The letters of Acting Paymaster William F. Keeler to his wife Anna also corroborate many of the accounts of affairs that took place aboard Monitor. The letters of Geer and Keeler are available for viewing and are housed at the Mariners' Museum in Virginia. [82] Other crew members were interviewed later in life, like Louis N. Stodder, one of the last crew members to abandon Monitor minutes before she sank in a storm at sea, [83] who was the last surviving crew member of Monitor and lived well into the 20th century. [84]

On 6 March 1862, the ship departed New York bound for Fort Monroe, Virginia, towed by the ocean-going tug Seth Low and accompanied by the gunboats Currituck and Sachem. [85] Worden, not trusting the seal between the turret and the hull, and ignoring Ericsson's advice, [86] wedged the former in the up position and stuffed oakum and sail cloth in the gap. [87] Rising seas that night washed the oakum away and water poured underneath the turret, as well as through the hawsepipe, various hatches, ventilation pipes, and the two funnels, so that the belts for the ventilation and boiler fans loosened and fell off and the fires in the boilers were nearly extinguished over the course of the next day this created a toxic atmosphere in the engine room that knocked out most of the engine-room crew. First Assistant Engineer Isaac Newton ordered the engine room abandoned and had the able-bodied crew drag the afflicted engine room hands to the top of the turret where the fresh air could revive them. [86] Both Newton and Stimers worked desperately to get the blowers to work, but they too succumbed to the noxious fumes and were taken above. [88] One fireman was able to punch a hole in the fan box, drain the water, and restart the fan. Later that night, the wheel ropes controlling the ship's rudder jammed, making it nearly impossible to control the ship's heading in the rough seas. Monitor was now in danger of foundering, so Worden signaled Seth Low for help and had Monitor towed to calmer waters closer to shore so she was able to restart her engines later that evening. She rounded Cape Charles around 3:00 pm on 8 March and entered Chesapeake Bay, reaching Hampton Roads at 9:00 pm, well after the first day's fighting in the Battle of Hampton Roads had concluded. [89]

Battle of Hampton Roads Edit

On 8 March 1862, Virginia, commanded by Commander Franklin Buchanan, [90] was ready to engage the Union flotilla blockading the James River. [g] Virginia was powered by Merrimack ' s original engines, which had been condemned by the US Navy before her capture. The ship's chief engineer, H. Ashton Ramsay, served in Merrimack before the Civil War broke out and knew of the engines' unreliability, but Buchanan pushed forward undaunted. [92] [h]

The slow-moving Virginia attacked the Union blockading squadron in Hampton Roads, Virginia, destroying the sail frigates Cumberland and Congress. [i] Early in the battle, the steam frigate USS Minnesota ran aground while attempting to engage Virginia, and remained stranded throughout the battle. Virginia, however, was unable to attack Minnesota before daylight faded. That day Buchanan was severely wounded in the leg and was relieved of command by Catesby ap Roger Jones. [93]

Days before the battle a telegraph cable was laid between Fortress Monroe, which overlooked Hampton Roads, and Washington. [94] Washington was immediately informed of the dire situation after the initial battle. Many were now concerned Virginia would put to sea and begin bombarding cities such as New York while others feared she would ascend the Potomac River and attack Washington. [95] In an emergency meeting among President Lincoln, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary Welles and other senior naval officers, inquiries were made about Monitor ' s ability to stop Virginia ' s prospect of further destruction. When the temperamental Stanton learned that Monitor had only two guns he expressed contempt and rage as he paced back and forth, further increasing the anxiety and despair among members of the meeting. Assurances from Admiral Dahlgren and other officers that Virginia was too massive to effectively approach Washington and that Monitor was capable of the challenge offered him no consolation. After further deliberations Lincoln was finally assured but Stanton remained almost in a state of terror and sent telegrams to various governors and mayors of the coastal states warning them of the danger. [96] [97] Subsequently, Stanton approved a plan to load some sixty canal boats with stone and gravel and sink them in the Potomac, but Welles was able to convince Lincoln at the last moment that such a plan would only prevent Monitor and other Union ships from reaching Washington and that the barges should only be sunk if and when Virginia was able to make her way up the Potomac. [98]

About 9:00 pm, Monitor finally arrived on the scene only to discover the destruction that Virginia had already wrought on the Union fleet. Worden was ordered upon reaching Hampton Roads to anchor alongside USS Roanoke and report to Captain John Marston where Worden was briefed of the situation and received further orders to protect the grounded Minnesota. [99] [100] By midnight, under the cover of darkness, Monitor quietly pulled up alongside and behind the Minnesota and waited. [101]

Duel of the ironclads Edit

The next morning at about 6:00 am Virginia, accompanied by Jamestown, Patrick Henry and Teaser, got underway from Sewell's Point to finish off Minnesota and the rest of the blockaders, but were delayed sailing out into Hampton Roads because of heavy fog until about 8:00 am. [102] In Monitor Worden was already at his station in the pilot house while Greene took command of the turret. [103] Samuel Howard, Acting Master of Minnesota, who was familiar with Hampton Roads with its varying depths and shallow areas, had volunteered to be the pilot the night before and thus was accepted, while Quarter Master Peter Williams steered the vessel throughout the battle (Williams was later awarded the Medal of Honor for this act). [104] [105] The speaking tube used to communicate between the pilothouse and the turret had broken early in the action so Keeler and Toffey had to relay commands from Worden to Greene. [106] [107] As Virginia approached, she began firing at Minnesota from more than a mile away, a few of her shells hitting the vessel. When the firing was heard in the distance, Greene sent Keeler to the pilot house for permission to open fire as soon as possible where Worden ordered, [103] [108] "Tell Mr. Greene not to fire till I give the word, to be cool and deliberate, to take sure aim and not waste a shot." [108]

Monitor, to the surprise of Virginia ' s crew, had emerged from behind Minnesota and positioned herself between her and the grounded ship, preventing the Confederate ironclad from further engaging the vulnerable wooden ship at close range. At 8:45 am Worden gave the order to fire where Greene fired the first shots of the battle between the two ironclads which harmlessly deflected off the Confederate ironclad. During the battle Monitor fired solid shot, about once every eight minutes, while Virginia fired shell exclusively. [109] The ironclads fought, generally at close range, for about four hours, ending at 12:15 pm, [110] [j] ranging from a few yards to more than a hundred. Both ships were constantly in motion, maintaining a circular pattern. Because of Virginia ' s weak engines, great size and weight, and a draft of 22 ft (6.7 m), she was slow and difficult to maneuver, taking her half an hour to complete a 180-degree turn. [112]

During the engagement, Monitor ' s turret began to malfunction, making it extremely difficult to turn and stop at a given position, so the crew simply let the turret continuously turn and fired their guns "on the fly" as they bore on Virginia. Several times, Monitor received direct hits on the turret, causing some bolts to violently shear off and ricochet around inside. The deafening sound of the impact stunned some of the crew, causing nose and ear bleeding. [113] [114] However, neither vessel was able to sink or seriously damage the other. At one point, Virginia attempted to ram, but only struck Monitor a glancing blow and did no damage. The collision did, however, aggravate the damage to Virginia ' s bow from when she had previously rammed Cumberland. Monitor was also unable to do significant damage to Virginia, possibly because her guns were firing with reduced charges, on advice from Commander John Dahlgren, the gun's designer, who lacked the "preliminary information" needed to determine what amount of charge was needed to "pierce, dislocate or dislodge iron plates" of various thicknesses and configurations. [56] [115] [k] During the battle Stodder was stationed at the wheel that controlled the turning of the turret, but at one point when he was leaning against its side the turret received a direct hit directly opposite to him which knocked him clear across the inside, rendering him unconscious. He was taken below to recover and relieved by Stimers. [107] [116]

The two vessels were pounding each other at such close range, they also managed to collide with one another at five different times. [117] By 11:00 am Monitor ' s supply of shot in the turret had been used up. With one of the gun port covers jammed shut, she hauled off to shallow waters to resupply the turret and repair the damaged hatch, which could not be fixed. During the lull in the battle, Worden climbed through the gun port out onto the deck to get a better view of the overall situation. Virginia, seeing Monitor turn away, turned her attention to the Minnesota and fired shots that set the wooden vessel ablaze, also destroying the nearby tugboat Dragon. When the turret was resupplied with ammunition, Worden returned to battle with only one gun able to fire. [118]

Towards the end of the engagement, Worden directed Williams to steer Monitor around the stern of Confederate ironclad, where Lieutenant Wood fired Virginia ' s 7-inch Brooke gun at Monitor ' s pilothouse, striking the forward side directly beneath the sight hold, cracking the structural "iron log" along the base of the narrow opening just as Worden was peering out. [119] Worden was heard to have cried out, My eyes—I am blind! Others in the pilothouse had also been hit with fragments and were also bleeding. [120] Temporarily blinded by shell fragments and gunpowder residue from the explosion and believing the pilothouse to be severely damaged, Worden ordered Williams to sheer off into shallow water, where Virginia with her deep draft could not follow. There Monitor drifted idly for about twenty minutes. [121] At the time the pilothouse was struck Worden's injury was only known to those in the pilothouse and immediately nearby. With Worden severely wounded, command passed to the executive officer, Samuel Greene. Taken by surprise, he hesitated briefly and was undecided as to what action to take next, [120] but after assessing the damage soon ordered Monitor to return to the battle area. [107] [118] [122]

Shortly after Monitor withdrew, Virginia had run aground at which time Jones came down from the spar deck only to find the gun crews not returning fire. Jones demanded to know why and was briefed by Lieutenant Eggleston that powder was low and precious and given Monitor ' s resistance to shot after two hours of battle, maintained that continued firing at that point would only be a waste of ammunition. [26] Virginia soon managed to break away and headed back towards Norfolk for needed repairs, believing that Monitor had withdrawn from battle. Greene did not pursue Virginia [123] and, like Worden, was under orders to stay with and protect Minnesota, [124] an action for which he was later criticized.

As a result of the duel between the two ironclads, Monitor had been struck twenty-two times, including nine hits to the turret and two hits to the pilothouse. She had managed to fire forty-one shots from her pair of Dahlgren guns. Virginia had sustained ninety-seven indentations to her armor from the fire of Monitor and other ships. Neither ship had sustained any significant damage. In the opinion of Virginia ' s commander Jones and her other officers, Monitor could have sunk their ship had she hit the vessel at the waterline. [121] [125]

Strategically, the battle between these two ships was considered the most definitive naval battle of the Civil War. The battle itself was largely considered a draw, though it could be argued Virginia did slightly more damage. [121] Monitor did successfully defend Minnesota and the rest of the Union blockading force, while Virginia was unable to complete the destruction she started the previous day. The battle between the two ironclads marked a turning point in the way naval warfare would be fought in the immediate future and beyond. [126] Strategically, nothing had changed: the Union still controlled Hampton Roads and the Confederates still held several rivers and Norfolk, [127] making it a strategic victory for the North. The battle of the ironclads led to what was referred to as "Monitor fever" in the North. During the course of the war improved designs based on Monitor emerged with a total of 60 ironclads built. [101]

Events after the battle Edit

Immediately following the battle Stimers telegraphed Ericsson, congratulating and thanking him for making it possible to confront the Confederate ironclad and for "saving the day". No sooner than Monitor had weighed anchor, numerous small boats and spectators on shore flocked around the ship to congratulate the crew for what they regarded as their victory over Virginia. Assistant Secretary Fox, who observed the entire battle from aboard Minnesota, came aboard Monitor and jokingly told her officers, "Well gentlemen, you don't look as though you just went through one of the greatest naval conflicts on record". A small tug soon came alongside and the blinded Worden was brought up from his cabin while crew members and spectators cheered. He was taken directly to Fort Monroe for preliminary treatment, then to a hospital in Washington shortly thereafter. [128]

Stimers and Newton soon began repairing the damage to the pilot house and reconfigured the sides from an upright position to a slope of thirty degrees to deflect the shot. During this time, Mrs. Worden personally brought news of her husband's progress and recovery and was optimistic, informing the crew his eyesight would soon return but he would be laid up for some time. She also informed them President Lincoln had personally paid Worden a visit extending his gratitude. [129] Worden was later taken to his summer home in New York and remained unconscious for three months. [130] He returned to Naval service in 1862 as captain of USS Montauk, another Monitor-type ironclad.

The Confederates were also celebrating what they considered a victory, as crowds of spectators gathered along the banks of the Elizabeth River, cheering and waving flags, handkerchiefs and hats as Virginia, displaying the captured ensign of Congress, passed along up the river. The Confederate government was ecstatic and immediately promoted Buchanan to Admiral. [131]

Both the Union and Confederacy soon came up with plans for defeating the other's ironclad. Oddly, these did not depend on their own ironclads. The Union Navy chartered a large ship (the sidewheeler USS Vanderbilt) and reinforced her bow with steel specifically to be used as a naval ram, provided Virginia steamed far enough out into Hampton Roads. [132]

On 11 April, Virginia, accompanied by a number of gunboats, steamed into Hampton Roads to Sewell's Point at the southeast edge, almost over to Newport News, in a challenge to Monitor in an attempt to lure the Union ironclad into battle. Virginia fired a few shots ineffectively at very long range, while Monitor returned fire while remaining near Fort Monroe, ready to fight if Virginia came to attack the Federal force congregated there. [133] Furthermore, Vanderbilt was in position to ram Virginia if she approached the fort. Virginia did not take the bait. [134] In a further attempt to entice Monitor closer to the Confederate side, so she could be boarded, the James River Squadron moved in and captured three merchant ships, the brigs Marcus and Sabout, and the schooner Catherine T. Dix. [135] These had been grounded and abandoned when they sighted Virginia entering the Roads. Their flags were then hoisted "Union-side down" to taunt Monitor into a fight as they were towed back to Norfolk. In the end, both sides had failed to provoke a fight on their terms. [136]

The Confederate Navy originally had devised a plan where the James River Squadron would swarm Monitor with a party of men with the intention of capturing the vessel by boarding and disabling her by using heavy hammers to drive iron wedges under and disabling the turret and by covering the pilothouse with a wet sail effectively blinding the pilot. Others would throw combustibles down the ventilation openings and smoke holes. At one point Jones made such an attempt to board the vessel but she managed to slip away around the stern of Virginia in time. [118]

A second meeting occurred on 8 May, when Virginia came out while Monitor and four other Federal ships bombarded Confederate batteries at Sewell's Point. The Federal ships retired slowly to Fort Monroe, hoping to lure Virginia into the Roads. She did not follow, however, and after firing a gun to windward as a sign of contempt, anchored off Sewell's Point. Later, when Confederate forces abandoned Norfolk on 11 May 1862, they were forced to destroy Virginia. [137]

Battle of Drewry's Bluff Edit

After the destruction of Virginia, Monitor was free to assist the Union Army and General McClellan's campaign against Richmond. As the Navy always gave command to officers based on seniority, Greene was replaced with Lieutenant Thomas O. Selfridge the day after the battle. Two days later, Selfridge was in turn relieved by Lieutenant William Nicholson Jeffers on 15 May 1862. [138] [139] Monitor was now part of a flotilla under the command of Admiral John Rodgers aboard Galena, and, along with three other gunboats, steamed up the James River and engaged the Confederate batteries at Drewry's Bluff. The force had instructions to coordinate their efforts with McClellan's forces on land and push on towards Richmond to bombard the city into surrender if possible. Without any assistance, the task force got within 8 mi (13 km) of the Confederate capital but could not proceed further because of sunken vessels and debris placed in the river that blocked further passage. There were also artillery batteries at Fort Darling overlooking and guarding the approach, along with other heavy guns and sharpshooters positioned along the river banks. The fort was strategically situated on the west bank of the James River atop of a bluff some 200 ft (61 m) above and overlooking the bend in the river. [139] [140] Monitor was of little help in the assault because the confinement and small gun ports of her turret would not allow her to elevate her guns sufficiently to engage the Confederate batteries at close range, so she had to fall back and fire at a greater distance, [140] while the other gunboats were unable to overcome the fortifications on their own. [56] After Monitor received only a few hits, without incurring any damage, the Confederates, many of whom were former crew members of Virginia well aware of her ability to withstand cannon shot even at close range, [141] concentrated their guns on the other ships, especially Galena, which sustained considerable damage and moderate casualties. [140] After a near four-hour artillery duel and sustaining numerous hits overall, the flotilla was unable to neutralize the fortification and had to turn back. [142] Not a single Union ship reached Richmond until near the end of the war, when the city was finally evacuated by the Confederates. [140] [143]

After the battle at Drewry's Bluff Monitor remained on the James River providing support, along with the Galena and other gunboats, to McClellan's troops at various points along the river including Harrison's Landing [145] [146] which ended in August. However most of the time spent on the river was marked with inactivity and hot weather which had a negative effect on the morale of Monitor ' s crew. During the long, hot, summer, several crew members became sick and were transferred to Hampton Roads while various officers were replaced including Newton, while Jeffers was replaced by Commander Thomas H. Stevens, Jr. [l] on 15 August. By the end of August, Monitor was ordered back to Hampton Roads and dropped anchor nearby the sunken Cumberland at Newport News Point on 30 August, much to the approval of the crew. Monitor ' s sole purpose now was to blockade the James River from any advances made by the newly constructed Virginia II, an ironclad ram. [145]

Repairs and refit Edit

In September Captain John P. Bankhead received orders to take command of Monitor, relieving Stevens, and was sent to Hampton Roads to take charge of the vessel. [147] Shortly after Bankhead assumed command, Monitor ' s engines and boilers were condemned by a board of survey which recommended that they be overhauled completely. [148] On 30 September the ironclad was sent to the Washington Navy Yard for repairs [149] [150] arriving there on 3 October. [151]

Upon arrival at Washington Monitor and her crew were greeted by a crowd of thousands of cheering admirers who came to see the ship that "saved the nation". Monitor was now a premier tourist attraction and the crowd was soon allowed on board to tour the vessel. [152] During this time the vessel was picked clean of artifacts for souvenirs by the touring civilians that came aboard. When Stodder and others came to close up the dock and ship one evening Stodder noted, "When we came up to clean that night there was not a key, doorknob, escutcheon – there wasn't a thing that hadn't been carried away." [153]

Before Monitor was put into dry dock for repairs, Lincoln, Fox, various officials and a few of Worden's close friends arrived to ceremoniously review the vessel and pay respect to the crew and former commander Worden, who after a long and partial recovery arrived for the occasion. Entire army regiments were also directed to come by the navy yard and review the ship and honor the crew. Monitor ' s crew assembled on deck in formation with their officers in front, while Lincoln, Fox and other guests stood near the turret. When Worden, with part of his face blackened from the wounds he received at Hampton Roads, came aboard, the heavy guns in the navy yard were fired in salute. Lincoln came forward and greeted Worden and then introduced him to some of the others. After his formal greeting the crew swarmed around Worden and embraced and shook hands with their former commander and thanked God for his recovery and return. Worden called each of them by name and spoke friendly to and complimented each of them personally. When order was restored the President gave a short speech about Worden's career. At Fox's request, Worden gave a speech to the gathering about his voyage from New York to Hampton Roads, the trials they were faced with along the way and of the great battle between Monitor and Virginia, while paying tribute to many of the officers and men involved. In closing he gave special thanks to Ericsson, Lincoln, Welles and all who made construction of Monitor possible. [154] [155]

While Monitor was undergoing repairs her crew was put aboard USS King Philip and were eventually granted a furlough by Bankhead who himself went on leave. [156] For approximately six weeks the vessel remained in dry dock while her bottom was scraped clean, the engines and boilers were overhauled, the entire vessel was cleaned and painted, and a number of improvements made, including an iron shield around the top of the turret. [147] To make the vessel more seaworthy, a 30-foot (9 m) funnel-shaped smokestack was placed over the smoke outlet while taller fresh air vents were installed. The berth deck below was also enlarged and raised by removing some of the side storerooms and placing them below, thus reducing the height of the interior which now barely allowed the crew to stand upright. Several cranes were also added while interior improvements were made making the confining environment more livable. A large blower that operated with its own engine was installed which drew fresh air down through the pilothouse. During this time the two Dahlgren guns were each engraved with large letters, MONITOR & MERRIMAC – WORDEN and MONITOR & MERRIMAC – ERICSSON, respectively. [m] Additional iron plates were installed covering the dents from the previous battles. Each plate was inscribed with the name of the source from where the shell causing the dent was made. i.e. Merrimack, Fort Darling, etc. [154] [157] Stanchions were also installed around the perimeter of the freeboard with a rope strung through each making it safer to walk about the deck amid stormy weather and rough seas. [154] Monitor was finally taken out of dry dock on 26 October. By November the ship was fully repaired and ready to return to service. [147] [158]

Final voyage Edit

On 24 December 1862, orders were issued directing Monitor to Beaufort, North Carolina to join USS Passaic and USS Montauk for a joint Army-Navy expedition against Wilmington, North Carolina, where she would join the blockade off Charleston. The orders were received by the crew on Christmas Day, some of whom had been aboard Monitor on her harrowing journey from New York to Hampton Roads in March and were not pleased with the prospect of taking to the high seas once again. Dana Greene remarked, "I do not consider this steamer a sea going vessel". [159]

The crew celebrated Christmas aboard Monitor while berthed at Hampton Roads in what was described as a most merry fashion, while many other celebrations were occurring along the shore. The ship's cook was paid one dollar to prepare a meal for the crew befitting the day it was received with mixed opinion. That day, Monitor was made ready for sea, her crew under strict orders not to discuss the impending voyage with anyone, but bad weather delayed her departure until 29 December. [160]

While the design of Monitor was well-suited for river combat, her low freeboard and heavy turret made her highly unseaworthy in rough waters. Under the command of John P. Bankhead, Monitor put to sea on 31 December, under tow from the steamship USS Rhode Island, as a heavy storm developed off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Using chalk and a blackboard, Bankhead wrote messages alerting Rhode Island that if Monitor needed help she would signal with a red lantern. [161]

Monitor was soon in trouble as the storm increased in ferocity. Large waves were splashing over and completely covering the deck and pilot house so the crew temporarily rigged the wheel atop the turret which was manned by helmsman Francis Butts. [162] Water continued flooding into the vents and ports and the ship began rolling uncontrollably in the high seas. Sometimes she would drop into a wave with such force the entire hull would tremble. Leaks were beginning to appear everywhere. Bankhead ordered the engineers to start the Worthington pumps, which temporarily stemmed the rising waters, but soon Monitor was hit by a squall and a series of violent waves and water continued to work its way into the vessel. Right when the Worthington pump could no longer keep pace with the flooding, a call came from the engine room that water was gaining there. Realizing the ship was in serious trouble, Bankhead signaled Rhode Island for help and hoisted the red lantern next to Monitor ' s white running light atop the turret. He then ordered the anchor dropped to stop the ship's rolling and pitching with little effect, making it no easier for the rescue boats to get close enough to receive her crew. He then ordered the towline cut and called for volunteers, [163] Stodder, along with crewmates John Stocking, [164] and James Fenwick volunteered and climbed down from the turret, but eyewitnesses said that as soon as they were on the deck Fenwick and Stocking were quickly swept overboard and drowned. Stodder managed to hang onto the safety lines around the deck and finally cut through the 13 in (33 cm) towline with a hatchet. [165] At 11:30 pm. Bankhead ordered the engineers to stop engines and divert all available steam to the large Adams centrifugal steam pump [166] but with reduced steam output from a boiler being fed wet coal, it too was unable to stem the rapidly rising water. [167] [168] After all of the steam pumps had failed, Bankhead ordered some of the crew to man the hand pumps and organized a bucket brigade, but to no avail. [145]

Greene and Stodder were among the last men to abandon ship and remained with Bankhead who was the last surviving man to abandon the sinking Monitor. In his official report of Monitor to the Navy Department, Bankhead praised Greene and Stodder for their heroic efforts and wrote, "I would beg leave to call the attention of the Admiral and of the Department of the particularly good conduct of Lieutenant Greene and Acting Master Louis N. Stodder, who remained with me until the last, and by their example did much toward inspiring confidence and obedience on the part of the others." [83]

After a frantic rescue effort, Monitor finally foundered and sank approximately 16 miles (26 km) southeast off Cape Hatteras with the loss of sixteen men, [169] including four officers, some of whom remained in the turret and went down with the ironclad. Forty-seven men were rescued by the life boats from Rhode Island. [170] [171] [n] Bankhead, Greene and Stodder barely managed to get clear of the sinking vessel and survived the ordeal, [166] but suffered from exposure from the icy winter sea. [172] After his initial recovery, Bankhead filed his official report, as did the commanding officers of the Rhode Island, stating officers and men of both Monitor and Rhode Island did everything within their ability to keep Monitor from sinking. The Navy did not find it necessary to commission a board of inquiry to investigate the affair and took no action against Bankhead or any of his officers. [173]

Some time later a controversy emerged over why Monitor sank. In the Army and Navy Journal, Ericsson accused the crew of drunkenness during the storm, being consequently unable to prevent the vessel from sinking. Stodder vigorously defended the crew and rebuked Ericsson's characterization of the crew and events and wrote to Pierce that Ericsson "covers up defects by blaming those that are now dead", pointing out that there were a number of unavoidable events and circumstances that led to the ship's sinking, foremost being the overhang between the upper and lower hulls which came loose and partially separated during the storm from slamming into the violent waves. Stodder's account was corroborated by other shipmates. [174]

The Navy tested an "underwater locator" in August 1949 by searching an area south of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for the wreck of Monitor. It found a 140-foot (42.7 m) long object bulky enough to be a shipwreck, in 310 feet (94.5 m) of water that was thought to be Monitor, but powerful currents negated attempts by divers to investigate. [175] Retired Rear Admiral Edward Ellsberg proposed using external pontoons to raise the wreck in 1951, the same method of marine salvage he had used on the sunken submarine S-51, for the cost of $250,000. [176] Four years later, Robert F. Marx claimed to have discovered the wreck based on the idea she had drifted into shallow water north of the lighthouse before sinking. Marx said he had dived on the wreck and placed a Coke bottle with his name on it in one of the gun barrels, although he never provided any proof of his story. [177]

These photos revealed that the wreck was disintegrating and the discovery raised another issue. Since the Navy had formally abandoned the wreck in 1953, it could be exploited by divers and private salvage companies as it lay outside North Carolina's territorial limits. [o] To preserve the ship, the wreck, and everything around it, a .5-nautical-mile (0.93 km 0.58 mi) radius was designated as the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, the first U.S. marine sanctuary, on 30 January 1975. [181] Monitor was also designated a National Historic Landmark on 23 June 1986. [182]

In 1977, scientists were finally able to view the wreckage in person as the submersible Johnson Sea Link was used to inspect it. The Sea Link was able to ferry divers down to the sunken vessel and retrieve small artifacts. [183] U.S. Navy interest in raising the entire ship ended in 1978 when Captain Willard F. Searle Jr. calculated the cost and possible damage expected from the operation: $20 million to stabilize the vessel in place, or as much as $50 million to bring all of it to the surface. [184] Research continued and artifacts continued to be recovered, including the ship's 1,500-pound (680 kg) anchor in 1983. The growing number of relics required conservation and a proper home so the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in charge of all U.S. marine sanctuaries, selected the Mariners' Museum on 9 March 1987 after considering proposals from several other institutions. [185] [186]

Recovery Edit

Initial efforts in 1995 by Navy and NOAA divers to raise the warship's propeller were foiled by an abnormally stormy season off Cape Hatteras. Realizing that raising the whole wreck was impractical for financial reasons as well as the inability to bring up the wreck intact, NOAA developed a comprehensive plan to recover the most significant parts of the ship, namely her engine, propeller, guns, and turret. It estimated that the plan would cost over 20 million dollars to implement over four years. The Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program contributed $14.5 million. The Navy divers, mainly from its two Mobile Diving and Salvage Units, would perform the bulk of the work necessary in order to train in deep sea conditions and evaluate new equipment. [187]

Another effort to raise Monitor ' s propeller was successful on 8 June 1998, although the amount of effort required to work in the difficult conditions off Cape Hatteras was underestimated and the fewer than 30 divers used were nearly overwhelmed. The 1999 dive season was mostly research oriented as divers investigated the wreck in detail, planning how to recover the engine and determining if they could stabilize the hull so that it would not collapse onto the turret. In 2000 the divers shored up the port side of the hull with bags of grout, installed the engine recovery system, an external framework to which the engine would be attached, in preparation for the next season, and made over five times as many dives as they had the previous season. [188]

The 2001 dive season concentrated on raising the ship's steam engine and condenser. Hull plates had to be removed to access the engine compartment and both the engine and the condenser had to be separated from the ship, the surrounding wreckage and each other. A Mini Rover ROV was used to provide visibility of the wreck and divers to the support staff above water. The engine was raised on 16 July and the condenser three days later by the crane barge Wotan. Saturation diving was evaluated by the Navy that dive season on Monitor and proved to be very successful, allowing divers to maximize their time on the bottom. [189] The surface-supplied divers evaluated the use of heliox due to the depth of the wreck. It also proved to be successful once the dive tables were adjusted. [190]

Much like the previous year, the 2002 dive season was dedicated to lifting the 120-long-ton (120 t) turret to the surface. Around 160 divers were assigned to remove the parts of the hull, including the armor belt, that lay on top of the turret using chisels, exothermic cutting torches and 20,000 psi (137,895 kPa 1,406 kgf/cm 2 ) hydroblasters. They removed as much of the debris from inside the turret as possible to reduce the weight to be lifted. This was usually concreted coal as one of the ship's coal bunkers had ruptured and dumped most of its contents into the turret. The divers prepared the turret roof for the first stage of the lift by excavating underneath the turret and placed steel beams and angle irons to reinforce it for its move onto a lifting platform for the second stage. A large, eight-legged lifting frame, nicknamed the "spider", was carefully positioned over the turret to move it onto the platform and the entire affair would be lifted by the crane mounted on the Wotan. The divers discovered one skeleton in the turret on 26 July before the lift and spent a week carefully chipping about half of it free of the concreted debris the other half was inaccessible underneath the rear of one of the guns. [191]

With Tropical Storm Cristobal bearing down on the recovery team, and time and money running out, [192] the team made the decision to raise the turret on 5 August 2002, after 41 days of work, and the gun turret broke the surface at 5:30 pm to the cheers of everyone aboard Wotan and other recovery ships nearby. [193] As archaeologists examined the contents of the turret after it has been landed aboard Wotan, they discovered a second skeleton, but removing it did not begin until the turret arrived at the Mariners' Museum for conservation. The remains of these sailors were transferred to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in the hope that they could be identified. [194]

Only 16 of the crew were not rescued by Rhode Island before Monitor sank and the forensic anthropologists at JPAC were able to rule out the three missing black crewmen based on the shape of the femurs and skulls. [195] Among the most promising of the 16 candidates were crew members Jacob Nicklis, Robert Williams and William Bryan, [196] [197] [198] [199] but a decade passed without their identities being discovered. On 8 March 2013 their remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. [200]

In 2003 NOAA divers and volunteers returned to the Monitor with the goal of obtaining overall video of the site to create a permanent record of the current conditions on the wreck after the turret recovery. Jeff Johnston of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS) also wanted a definitive image of the vessel's pilothouse. During the dives, Monitor ' s iron pilothouse was located near the bow of the vessel and documented for the first time by videographer Rick Allen, of Nautilus Productions, in its inverted position. [201]

Conservation of the propeller was completed nearly three years after its recovery and it is on display in the Monitor Center at the Mariners' Museum. [202] As of 2013, conservation of the engine, its components, the turret and the guns continues. [203] The Dahlgren guns were removed from the turret in September 2004 and placed in their own conservation tanks. [204] Among some of the artifacts recovered from the sunken vessel was a red signal lantern, possibly the one used to send a distress signal to Rhode Island and the last thing to be seen before Monitor sank in 1862 – it was the first object recovered from the site in 1977. A gold wedding band was also recovered from the hand of the skeletal remains of one of Monitor ' s crew members found in the turret. [205]

Northrop Grumman Shipyard in Newport News constructed a full-scale non-seaworthy static replica of Monitor. The replica was laid down in February 2005 and completed just two months later on the grounds of the Mariners' Museum. [206] The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary conducts occasional dives on the wreck to monitor and record any changes in its condition and its environment. [207]

The Greenpoint Monitor Monument in McGolrick Park, Brooklyn, depicts a sailor from Monitor pulling on a capstan. The sculptor Antonio de Filippo was commissioned by the State of New York in the 1930s for a bronze statue to commemorate the Battle of Hampton Roads, John Ericsson, and the crew of the ship. It was dedicated on 6 November 1938. [208] A vandal doused it with white paint on 7 January 2013. [209]

In 1995 the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating USS Monitor and CSS Virginia depicting the two ships while engaged in their famous battle at Hampton Roads. For an image of the stamp, see footnote link. [210]

The 150th anniversary of the ship's loss prompted several events in commemoration. A memorial to Monitor and her lost crew members was erected in the Civil War section of Hampton National Cemetery by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, together with the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and dedicated on 29 December 2012. [211] The Greenpoint Monitor Museum commemorated the ship and her crew with an event on 12 January 2013 at the grave sites of those Monitor crew members buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, followed by a service in the cemetery's chapel. [212]

New Jersey-based indie rock band Titus Andronicus named their critically acclaimed [213] [214] second album, 2010's The Monitor, for the ship. Featured on the album's sleeve are the crewmen of Monitor, taken from a tintype portrait. The album's interwoven references to the Civil War include speeches and writings from the period, as well as the side-long closing track "The Battle of Hampton Roads". The latter refers to the Monitor ' s encounter with CSS Virginia in prominent detail. Singer/guitarist Patrick Stickles commented while making the album that he was inspired by Ken Burns's The Civil War and the ship itself so much that he decided to name Titus Andronicus's second album in its honor. [215]

Monitor gave her name to a new type of mastless, low-freeboard warship that mounted its armament in turrets. Many more were built, including river monitors, and they played key roles in Civil War battles on the Mississippi and James Rivers. The breastwork monitor was developed during the 1860s by Sir Edward Reed, Chief Constructor of the Royal Navy, as an improvement of the basic Monitor design. Reed gave these ships a superstructure to increase seaworthiness and raise the freeboard of the gun turrets so they could be worked in all weathers. The superstructure was armored to protect the bases of the turrets, the funnels and the ventilator ducts in what he termed a breastwork. The ships were conceived as harbor defense ships with little need to leave port. Reed took advantage of the lack of masts and designed the ships with one twin-gun turret at each end of the superstructure, each able to turn and fire in a 270° arc. [216] These ships were described by Admiral George Alexander Ballard as being like "full-armoured knights riding on donkeys, easy to avoid but bad to close with". [217] Reed later developed the design into the Devastation class, the first ocean-going turret ships without masts, the direct ancestors of the pre-dreadnought battleships and the dreadnoughts. [218]

The battle between the Monitor and the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia was reenacted using scale models in the 1936 film Hearts in Bondage from Republic Pictures. [219] The battle was also dramatized in the 1991 made-for-television movie Ironclads, produced by Ted Turner. [220]


Covering an area of 1786 Sq.km, the District of Mon is bounded in the North by Sibsagar District of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh in the north east, Myanmar in south east and Tuensang and Longleng districts of Nagaland in the south. The district is located between 94°49′ East longitude and 26°45′ North latitude at an altitude 897.64 meters above sea level. In terms of area, it is the 3rd biggest district representing 10.77% of the total area of Nagaland.

The area, which is now known as MON DISTRICT and is placed on the Northeastern part of the State of Nagaland, was not brought under the Civil Administration till 1948. Even in the beginning of the 19th Century, a vast tract of land lying between the administered areas of Assam and Myanmar (Burma) was not brought under the Civil Administration by the British. By the year 1914, the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India, by a Notification, extended the Assam Frontier Tract Regulation of 1880 to the Hills, which were either inhabited or frequented by Abors, Mishmis, Singphos, Nagas, Khamptis, Bhutias, Akas and Daflas. It is by this extension of the aforesaid Regulation, the Government of India brought the area under some administration in 1914 and the area was named as the North East Frontier Tract. Hence, the present MON DISTRICT was also brought under same Notification but practically, there was no Civil Administration till 1948.

In 1951, the plains portion of Balipara Frontier Tract, Tirap Frontier Tract, Abor Hills District and Mishmi Hills were transferred to the administrative jurisdiction of the Government of Assam. Thereafter, the remaining areas of the said North East Frontier together with the Naga Tribal Area of Tuensang including the present Mon (District) were re-named as the North East Frontier Agency. The Mon Sub-division under the Tuensang Frontier Division was created and the officer who was first posted, as the Assistant Political Officer was Mr. W.H. RYNJAH.

The district was carved out of the Tuensang district (Nagaland) on 21st December 1973. The district was enlarged in 1991 by transferring some villages from the Tuensang district and creating some new administrative circle headquarters at Tobu (head by the Additional Deputy Commissioner), Mopong and Muknyakshu (headed by the Extra Assistant Commissioner each).

The term ‘Konyak’ is believed to have been derived from the words ‘Whao’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘Nyak’ meaning ‘black’ translating to ‘men with black hair’. They can be grouped into two groups, namely “Thendu”, which means the “Tattooed Face” and “Thentho”, meaning the “White face”. The Thendu group is mostly found in the central part of Mon district and Thenko group mostly in the upper part and in the lower part of the district in Wakching area.

Linguistically, the Konyaks come under the Naga-Kuki group of Tibeto-Burman family with each village having its own dialect. The dialect of the Wakching village is commonly used as the medium of communication.

A unique feature of the Konyak tradition is the practice of the Angh system. There are two different kinds of Anghs among the Konyaks, Pongyin Angh or Anaghtak Anghyong (the Great King or Monarch/Chief) and Anghha (small king).

The Pongyin Angh is found only in some Thendu villages. In a village where there is no Pongyin Angh, an Anghha is appointed. Such a village becomes a subject village to the Pongyin Angh from whose family the Anghha is appointed. The Anghha and the village council consisting of an elder from nokphong (clan) take care of the village administration.

Altogether, there are seven “Chief Anghs” within Mon District, namely (a) Mon (b) Chui (c) Shengha Chingnyu (d) Longwa (e) Shangnyu (f) Jaboka and (g) Tangnyu. The Chief Anghs of these villages rule over a group of satellite villages under them, some of which are in Arunachal Pradesh and in Myanmar but have strong customary and traditional relationship with the rest villages in Mon District.

Konyak village is divided into different sections called the Baan (pronounced Paan). The baan is like the ‘Morung’ of the other Naga tribes. Interestingly, the term Baan is also used to denote the traditional institution of learning young men learnt the of war, traditional arts and crafts, hunting, folk dances and songs, wrestling and other traditional games and sports. It also served as a centre for religious and social activities. Another place Ywo was also a centre of learning for women. Today the Ywo and Baan system are almost non-existent.

Festivals occupy an importance place in the lives of the Konyaks. The three most significant festivals were Aolingmonyu, Aonyimo and Laoun-ongmo.

Aolingmonyu is celebrated in the first week of April, celebrated after sowing of seeds and marks the beginning of a new year. Its religious significance is to appease (Kahwang/ Yongwan) God for a prosperous harvest.

The Aonyimo is celebrated in July or August with pomp and gaiety after the harvest of the first crops like — maize and vegetable. The Laoun-ongmo is a festival of thanksgiving and is celebrated after the completion of all agricultural activities.

The Konyaks are hospitable in nature, warm hearted and fond of merry-making. Elderly men indulge themselves with “Khalap” which is black tea and a kettle is always left in the fireplace for boiling black tea.

The Konyaks are skilled in the art of making firearms. They are also skilled in handicrafts like basket making, cane and bamboo works, brass works etc. Shangnyu and Chui have been declared as ethnic villages providing a rich educational research work for anthropologists. These two villages are ruled by the Chief Anghs. Traditional architecture and old sculptures provide historical background of the past of Konyaks and their culture and tradition.

The District can be divided into two regions topographically, namely the Upper Region comprising Longching, Chen, Mopong and Tobu areas and the Lower Region comprises Mon, Tizit and Naginimora area. The foothills lie adjacent to the plains of Assam i.e., the Tizit and Naginimora areas. The hill ranges extend from the foothills to the slopes of Naga Hills and Patkai Range in the Eastern side of the District.

According to 2011 census, the district has 131 villages and two statutory towns viz., Mon Town and Naginimora Town.

The district had a population of 250,260 persons with the Density of Population (Persons per sq Km.) at 140. The overall Sex Ratio Total (Number of females per 1000 males) was at 899. The overall literacy rate stood at 56.99% with 60.94% male and 52.58% female. The Village having highest population was Monyakshu at 6,886 persons while Angphang is the largest village.

The district is home to the Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary which covers an area of 23.57 sq. Kms. This is far bigger than the Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary (6.42 sq. km and Rangapahar Wildlife Sanctuary (4.70 sq. km).

Beers and Books: History of the Weehawken Public Library

Weehawken Free Public Library, 49 Hauxhurst Avenue. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Many titans of industry once called Weehawken their home around the turn of the 20th century, and a few of them left a legacy that perhaps goes unnoticed by those passing through in modern times. One of the township’s finest public buildings is a perfect example of this, as it not only survived the wrecking ball but also was later lovingly restored into one of the most unique libraries in New Jersey.

Historical room. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

A local landmark that’s seen by literally thousands of commuters driving along NJ-495 every day, the Weehawken Public Library is built into a cliffside plot of land at 49 Hauxhurst Avenue. The original owner of the home was a man named Wilhelm Joseph Peter, who was born in 1832 and fled his native Germany during the country’s revolution in 1848.

Known as William Peter upon his arrival to the United States, he took an interest in beer brewing and worked at several breweries in North Hudson. He eventually started a small brewing operation of his own in West New York, building the business to the point where they outgrew their tiny space.

Lobby. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Peter later purchased several properties in Union Hill (now Union City) at what was then Hudson Avenue and Weehawken Street. He established the William Peter Brewing Company in 1862 and the building that once housed the brewery still stands to this day, being used as extra warehouse space and located along a road that was appropriately renamed Peters Street.

William Peter Brewing Co. Photo via Weehawken Time Machine.

After hitting it big in America, Peter sought to construct a house for his growing family. Completed in 1904 at the cost of $75,000, his 17-room home was designed to resemble a miniature version of a German-style castle like those along the Rhine River. The immaculate property featured ornate woodwork, marble, stained glass, and several fireplaces.

Stained glass. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs. Fireplace. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

Among the rooms in Peter’s mansion was a private artist studio, where the avid painter would work and teach out of for many years. He continued this hobby up until a few weeks before his death in 1918, passing away from a severe cold. While the William Peter Brewing Company was briefly shut down by Prohibition in 1920, the company did exist in some form until around 1950.

Despite his company continuing after his death, the mansion Peter built was at one point in jeopardy. To make way for the construction of what would become the Lincoln Tunnel in the 1930s, the mansion and several other majestic homes in the neighborhood and along Boulevard East were acquired by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In a sad piece of history, many of the houses were demolished to make way for the stretch of NJ-495 that exists today.

Weehawken Free Public Library, 49 Hauxhurst Avenue. Photo by Chris Fry/Jersey Digs.

However, the Peter Mansion was spared and later deeded to the township by the Port Authority. It was officially converted into a library in 1942 and was significantly renovated with an addition constructed in 1997. Many of the building’s historic details, including its fireplaces and stained-glass windows, still shine through to this day.

The property also serves as the home to the Weehawken Historic Commission and features a historical room on the top floor, while a community room, updated children’s reading area, and an outdoor seating patio round out the building. While the neighborhood around the library has undoubtedly changed over the century, an interesting time capsule filled with books helps keep the legacy of William Peter alive and well.


citrus chili | coconut cream + soy dipping sauces

$ 12.50 (840 cal.)

Chorizo, shrimp + sweet corn dip

Cotija cheese | avocado corn salsa Corn tortilla chips | taro chips

$ 12 (650 cal.)

lightly fried | crisp vegetables

$ 16.50 (990 cal.)

edamame | wakame | avocado | spicy cucumber rice noodles | cabbage slaw

$ 16 (520 cal.)

$ 18 (260 cal.)

Savory Burrata + Proscuitto

basil pesto | grilled sourdough toast | heirloom tomatoes | fig preserves | pickled vegetables + olive tapenade

$ 18 (1030 cal.)

garlic breadcrumbs | diced tomatoes tortilla chips

$ 11 (700 cal.)

Shrimp, Avocado + Mango Stack

$ 18.50 (440 cal.)


Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr both served as officers in the Revolutionary war. Hamilton spent much of the war as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington, and was an important member of what Washington called his military "family." Burr took part in several noted events of the war, including commanding a regiment at the Battle of Monmouth, which took place in Monmouth County, NJ, and was the longest continuous battle of the Revolutionary War.

After the war, Hamilton and Burr each played important roles in the early politics of the United States of America. Hamilton served as the country's first Secretary of the Treasury, where he left a lasting imprint on the financial structure of the country. Burr served as a Senator from New York, and then as Vice President.

The two men were on opposing sides politically. Hamilton was a member of the Federalist party, and Burr was a member of the Democratic-Republican party. Over time, their political rivalry turned personal, with Hamilton actively working against Burr in the Presidential election of 1800. Furthermore, Hamilton had a habit of saying and writing negative things about his political rivals, and Burr was no exception. This was to lead to their duel at Weehawken in 1804.

Dueling in the 1700's was an elaborate ritual wherein two gentlemen would work to retain their honor. However, their very definitions of words such as "gentlemen" and "honor" had connotations which are lost to us. The concepts behind dueling are so far removed from our current society that it is difficult to get our minds around it. It now seems particularly strange that two such prominent leaders as an ex-Treasury Secretary and the sitting Vice-President would settle their differences at gunpoint. It is important to remember that while their actions may seem strange to us, they were following customs that made sense to them.

Dueling was beginning to fall out of favor by the early 1800's, and was in fact illegal in New York and New Jersey. But some in the aristocracy held to the custom. In particular, military officers still participated in duels, finding it important to maintain their honor. They felt that to back down from a duel would make them appear cowardly and would cause them to lose the prestige needed for others to follow them. Hamilton and Burr had both served as officers, and were both concerned with their status in the aristocracy.

The dueling process followed a system of steps known as the code duello. Letters were sent back and forth, and the duelists appointed men known as seconds to handle the negotiations and arrangements. Most of the "affairs of honor" did not end up in bloodshed. Often the parties would reconcile during the negotiations, or on the actual dueling grounds. Within the code they followed, it was often enough for each man to maintain his honor by standing up to the duel, rather than actually killing his opponent. Sometimes a duelist would deliberately fire at the ground missing his opponent, which was known as "throwing away his shot." If neither duelist was hit in the first round of gunshots, they had the opportunity to approach each other to settle their differences verbally, rather than fire another round. However, some duels did end in death, as the one between Hamilton and Burr did.

Prelude to the Hamilton &mdash Burr Duel

In the spring of 1804, Aaron Burr ran unsuccessfully for Governor of New York. Hamilton made efforts behind the scenes to oppose him, and was known to make derogatory statements about Burr. Comments Hamilton made about Burr at a March 1804 dinner party set in motion the events which culminated in their duel several months later.

During the dinner, Hamilton and one of the other guests, Judge James Kent, discussed Burr in negative terms. Several weeks later, on April 24, 1804, The Albany Register newspaper published a letter from Dr. Charles D. Cooper, who had attended the dinner party and heard the conversation between Hamilton and Kent.

Dr. Cooper stated that "Gen. Hamilton and Judge Kent have declared, in substance, that they looked upon Mr. Burr to be a dangerous man, and one who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government." Cooper stated further that, "I could detail to you a still more despicable opinion which General Hamilton has expressed of Mr. Burr." [2]

The letter was printed in the April 24 edition of The Albany Register. Burr, living 150 miles away in New York City, was not aware of it until he received a copy of the newspaper in June. On June 18, Burr had a message delivered to Hamilton, who also lived in New York City, stating, "You might perceive, Sir, the necessity of a prompt and unqualified acknowledgment or denial of the use of any expressions which could warrant the assertions of Dr Cooper." [3]

Hamilton sent an evasive reply to Burr two days later, saying that because Cooper's statements were not specific, he could not confirm or deny them.[4] Burr was unsatisfied with this response, and another round of letters was exchanged, as matters escalated into a duel. As was the custom, each man named a second. Seconds were appointed by the principals of the duel to handle the negotiations and arrangements. Hamilton named Judge Nathaniel Pendleton, and Burr named William Van Ness. The seconds attempted to negotiate a settlement that would prevent an actual duel, but they were unsuccessful. [5]

The Duel At Weehawken
July 11, 1804

Arrangements were made through the seconds to schedule the duel for the morning of July 11, 1804. The spot chosen for the duel was a small ledge on the cliffs of the Palisades on the Weehawken shore. It was a popular site for dueling because it was only accessible from the river, which kept the duelists from being disturbed. (The dueling grounds were located somewhere below the cliffs where the monument now stands, but the original site no longer exists due to development of the railroad line in 1870.) [6] Another reason for choosing a location in New Jersey was that the laws against dueling were enforced less rigorously in New Jersey than in New York.

Burr and Hamilton traveled across the Hudson River from New York City in separate boats on the morning of July 11. They were accompanied by their seconds, Pendleton and Van Ness, and the surgeon Dr. David Hosack. Eight men were employed to row the boats across the river, four to each boat. Burr's boat arrived first around 6:30 a.m. Hamilton's arrived around 7 a.m..

Care was taken to avoid legal accountability by the non-duelists. Only the seconds left the boats to accompany Hamilton and Burr on the dueling ground Dr. Hosack and the oarsmen remained in the boats, away from the site of the duel, so that they would not later be considered witnesses to the event.

What happened next is recorded in a statement later issued by the two seconds, Pendleton and Van Ness: [7]

"Col: Burr arrived first on the ground as had been previously agreed. When Genl Hamilton arrived the parties exchanged salutations and the Seconds proceeded to make their arrangments. They measured the distance, ten full paces, and cast lots for the choice of positions as also to determine by whom the word should be given, both of which fell to the Second of Genl Hamilton. They then proceeded to load the pistols in each others presence, after which the parties took their stations. The Gentleman who was to give the word, then explained to the parties the rules which were to govern them in firing which were as follows: The parties being placed at their stations The Second who gives the word shall ask them whether they are ready&mdashbeing answered in the affirmative, he shall say 'present' after which the parties shall present & fire when they please. If one fires before the other the opposite second shall say one two, three, fire, and he shall fire or loose his fire. And asked if they were prepared, being answered in the affirmative he gave the word present as had been agreed on, and both of the parties took aim, & fired in succession, the Intervening time is not expressed as the seconds do not precisely agree on that point. The pistols were discharged within a few seconds of each other and the fire of Col: Burr took effect Genl Hamilton almost instantly fell. Col: Burr then advanced toward Genl H&mdash&mdashn with a manner and gesture that appeared to Genl Hamilton&rsquos friend to be expressive of regret, but without Speaking turned about & withdrew. Being urged from the field by his friend as has been subsequently stated, with a view to prevent his being recognised by the Surgeon and Bargemen who were then approaching. No farther communications took place between the principals and the Barge that carried Col: Burr immediately returned to the City. We conceive it proper to add that the conduct of the parties in that interview was perfectly proper as suited the occasion."

(As noted in their statement, Pendleton and Van Ness disagreed on the exact details of the shots being fired, and so left those details out of their joint statement. They would each later issue individual statements regarding their perceptions of those moments when the shots were fired. The main difference in their accounts pertains to whether Hamilton fired first, and if Hamilton actually intended to shoot at Burr or throw away his shot. There has been much speculation as to this over the past two centuries, but ultimately it is impossible to know exactly what occurred in the moments the shots were fired, or what the duelists were thinking.) [8]

Dr. Hosack was called to attend to Hamilton but found him in mortal condition. The Doctor later wrote the following description of the emotional scene: [9]

"When called to him, upon his receiving the fatal wound, I found him half sitting on the ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton. His countenance of death I shall never forget. He had at that instant just strength to say, 'This is a mortal wound, Doctor' when he sunk away, and became to all appearance lifeless. I immediately stripped up his clothes, and soon, alas! ascertained that the direction of the ball must have been through some vital part. His pulses were not to be felt his respiration was entirely suspended and upon laying my hand on his heart, and perceiving no motion there, I considered him as irrecoverably gone. I however observed to Mr. Pendleton, that the only chance for his reviving was immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted him up, and carried him out of the wood, to the margin of the bank, where the bargemen aided us in conveying him into the boat, which immediately put off. During all this time I could not discover the least symptom of returning life. I now rubbed his face, lips, and temples, with spirits of hartshorne, applied it to his neck and breast, and to the wrists and palms of his hands, and endeavoured to pour some into his mouth. When we had got, as I should judge, about 50 yards from the shore, some imperfect efforts to breathe were for the first time manifest: in a few minutes he sighed, and became sensible to the impression of the hartshorne, or the fresh air of the water: He breathed his eyes, hardly opened, wandered, without fixing upon any objects to our great joy he at length spoke: 'My vision is indistinct,' were his first words. His pulse became more perceptible his respiration more regular his sight returned. I then examined the wound to know if there was any dangerous discharge of blood upon slightly pressing his side it gave him pain on which I desisted."

Each man was rowed back to New York City. Hamilton was in great pain the bullet had fractured one of his ribs, passed through his liver and diaphragm, and lodged in his spine. [10] He was taken to the home of his friend William Bayard. He died there the following afternoon, accompanied by his wife and other family and friends.

A great uproar in public opinion occurred in New York City against Burr over Hamilton's death. Fearing prosecution, Burr fled from New York City on July 22. He first headed south from New York by boat to Perth Amboy, [11] where he spent the night at a friend's house before heading on to Philadelphia. Burr escaped prosecution, and he returned to Washington D.C. later that year to finish out his term as Vice President. He died thirty-two years after the duel, on September 14, 1836, and is buried in Princeton.

The first monument to commemorate the duel was erected on the dueling grounds in 1806. By 1821, it had been taken apart and removed by souvenir hunters. Other small markers later appeared at the dueling grounds. The site was disturbed in 1858 when a road was cut through it. In 1870, the Weehawken shoreline was reconfigured for the railroad tracks, and the dueling ground site was obliterated. In 1894, a stone bust of Hamilton was placed at the site of the current monument. It was ruined by vandals in 1934.

The bronze statue of Hamilton which stands here today was sculpted by John Rapetti in 1935. Rapetti was born in Italy and later spent time in France, where he was one of the sculptors who worked on the Statue of Liberty. He came to America in 1899 and lived for many years in Weehawken. Rapetti also sculpted the Weehawken World War I Memorial, located on J F Kennedy Blvd, about 750 feet north of the Hamilton bust. He died at his home in Weehawken in 1936 at age 74.

Behind the base of the Hamilton bust there is a boulder which folklore claimed Hamilton rested on after being hit in the duel. There is, however, no historical basis for the story none of the original eye-witness accounts of the duel make any mention of Hamilton resting on a boulder. The boulder does have historical value, whether or not Hamilton rested on it, because it is a surviving physical connection to the original dueling grounds.

There is a small park called Hamilton Park located next to the monument. The park offers a great place to enjoy the fantastic view of the Manhattan skyline.

Other Historic Sites in New Jersey Which Are Associated with Hamilton and Burr

Hamilton and Burr each had strong biographical connections to New Jersey. Some of the other New Jersey historical sites related to Hamilton and Burr are listed below. Follow the links for more information about these historic sites.

Other New Jersey historic sites related to Alexander Hamilton

&bull The site of the Old Academy in Elizabeth, which both Hamilton and Burr attended.

&bull The site of Alexander Hamilton's artillery battery in New Brunswick in December 1776.

&bull The site of the Dr. Hezekiah Stites House in Cranbury, where Hamilton met with Lafayette prior to the Battle of Monmouth.

&bull The Great Falls in Paterson, a spot Hamilton visited in 1778 with Washington and Lafayette. Hamilton later played an important role in developing Paterson as an industrial city. There is a statue of him at the Great Falls.

&bull Ford Mansion in Morristown, where Hamilton stayed with Washington in winter 1779-1780.

&bull The Schuyler-Hamilton House in Morristown, where Hamilton courted his future wife Betsey Schuyler in 1779-1780.

&bull Dey Mansion in Wayne, where Hamilton stayed with Washington in 1780.

&bull A magnificent statue group of Hamilton, Washington, and Lafayette in Morristown.

Other New Jersey historic sites related to Aaron Burr

&bull Burr was born February 6, 1756, in Newark, NJ.

&bull The site of the Old Academy in Elizabeth, which both Burr and Hamilton attended.

&bull Burr attended Princeton University. His father had served as president of the University.

&bull A sign in Paramus commemorates Burr's presence there in 1776.

&bull Burr commanded a regiment at the Battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778.

&bull The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, where Burr met Theodosia Prevost in 1778. The couple were married in the house in 1782.

&bull Solitude House in High Bridge, which Burr visited.

&bull The Old Stone House in Ramsey, which Burr may have visited.

&bull Burr arrived at Perth Amboy eleven days after his duel with Alexander Hamilton.

&bull Burr died September 14, 1836. His gravesite is in Princeton Cemetery.

Other New Jersey historic sites related to Alexander Hamilton

&bull The site of the Old Academy in Elizabeth, which both Hamilton and Burr attended.

&bull The site of Alexander Hamilton's artillery battery in New Brunswick in December 1776.

&bull The site of the Dr. Hezekiah Stites House in Cranbury, where Hamilton met with Lafayette prior to the Battle of Monmouth.

&bull The Great Falls in Paterson, a spot Hamilton visited in 1778 with Washington and Lafayette. Hamilton later played an important role in developing Paterson as an industrial city. There is a statue of him at the Great Falls.

&bull Ford Mansion in Morristown, where Hamilton stayed with Washington in winter 1779-1780.

&bull The Schuyler-Hamilton House in Morristown, where Hamilton courted his future wife Betsey Schuyler in 1779-1780.

&bull Dey Mansion in Wayne, where Hamilton stayed with Washington in 1780.

&bull A magnificent statue group of Hamilton, Washington, and Lafayette in Morristown.

Other New Jersey historic sites related to Aaron Burr

&bull Burr was born February 6, 1756, in Newark, NJ.

&bull The site of the Old Academy in Elizabeth, which both Burr and Hamilton attended.

&bull Burr attended Princeton University. His father had served as president of the University.

&bull A sign in Paramus commemorates Burr's presence there in 1776.

&bull Burr commanded a regiment at the Battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778.

&bull The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, where Burr met Theodosia Prevost in 1778. The couple were married in the house in 1782.

&bull Solitude House in High Bridge, which Burr visited.

&bull The Old Stone House in Ramsey, which Burr may have visited.

&bull Burr arrived at Perth Amboy eleven days after his duel with Alexander Hamilton.

&bull Burr died September 14, 1836. His gravesite is in Princeton Cemetery.

The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society hosts an event to commemorate the duel each July.
Click here for information about this and other upcoming events.

Source Notes:

1. ^ In addition to the contemporary sources listed in the following source notes, some information for this page, including biographical information and details surrounding the duel, was drawn from:

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (New York: The Penguin Group, 2004) particularly pages 680-709

Nancy Isenberg, Fallen Founder &mdash The Life of Aaron Burr (New York: Viking, 2007) particularly pages 256-269

2. ^ &ldquoEnclosure: Charles D. Cooper to Philip Schuyler, [23 April 1804],&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0203-0002 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0203-0002. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 243&ndash246.]

3. ^ &ldquoTo Alexander Hamilton from Aaron Burr, 18 June 1804,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0203-0001 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0203-0001. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 242&ndash243.]

4. ^ &ldquoFrom Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr, 20 June 1804,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0205 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0205. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 247&ndash249.]

5. ^ These other letters were exchanged between Hamilton and Burr during this time:

&bull &ldquoTo Alexander Hamilton from Aaron Burr, 21 June 1804,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0207 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0207. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 249&ndash251.]

&bull &ldquoFrom Alexander Hamilton to Aaron Burr, 22 June 1804,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0210 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0210. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 253&ndash254.]

&bull &ldquoTo Alexander Hamilton from Aaron Burr, 22 June 1804,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0212 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0212. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 255&ndash256.]

Additional letters involving communications between the seconds are also available at the Founders Online / National Archives website:

6. ^ For details, see:
Thomas R. Flagg, An Investigation into the Location of the Hamilton Dueling Ground (Weehawken Historical Commission, 2004)
Available as a PDF on the Weehawken Historical Commission website here

7. ^ &ldquoJoint Statement by William P. Van Ness and Nathaniel Pendleton on the Duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, [17 July 1804],&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0275 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0275. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 333&ndash336.]

8. ^ The individual statements by the two seconds are available to be read at the Founders Online / National Archives website:

&bull &ldquoNathaniel Pendleton&rsquos Amendments to the Joint Statement Made by William P. Van Ness and Him on the Duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, [19 July 1804],&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0277 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0277. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 337&ndash339.]

&bull &ldquoWilliam P. Van Ness&rsquos Amendments to the Joint Statement Made by Nathaniel Pendleton and Him on the Duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, [21 July 1804],&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0278 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0278. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 340&ndash341.]

9. ^ &ldquoDavid Hosack to William Coleman, 17 August 1804,&rdquo Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 6, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Hamilton/01-26-02-0001-0280 http://founders.archives.gov/
01-26-02-0001-0280. [Original source: The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, vol. 26, 1 May 1802 &ndash󈏿 October 1804, Additional Documents 1774&ndash1799, Addenda and Errata, ed. Harold C. Syrett. New York: Columbia University Press, 1979, pp. 344&ndash347.]

10. ^ The specifics of the wounds were drawn from notes made by Doctor Hosack, which are quoted in the Authorial notes at the bottom of the page at the Founders Online, National Archives listed in Source Note 9

11. ^ See the Perth Amboy page of this website for more information and accompanying source note

12. ^ Information for this section was drawn from the following document, which is recommended to those looking for more details of the monument's history:
Willie Demontreux, The Changing Face of the Hamilton Monument (Weehawken Historical Commission, 2004)
Available as a PDF on the Weehawken Historical Commission website here

Biographical details about John Rapetti were drawn from :
"Heart Attack is Fatal to Rapetti, Sculpture / Native Of Italy Helped To Mould Statue Of Liberty" Wilmington Morning News, [Wilmington, Delaware] June 23, 1936, Page 1

▸ The base of the bronze bust of Hamilton bears an inscription which reads, "ERECTED BY THE HAMILTON MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION 1935."

The ultimate field guide to New Jersey's Revolutionary War historic sites!
Weehawken New Jersey Revolutionary War Sites &bull Weehawken New Jersey Historic Sites
Alexander Hamilton &mdash Aaron Burr Dueling Grounds Site

Website Researched, Written, Photographed and Designed by Al Frazza
This website, its text and photographs are © 2009 &mdash 2021 AL Frazza. All rights reserved.

Hoboken to acquire Union Dry Dock

After a years-long battle and lengthy negotiation process, Hoboken will move to acquire Union Dry Dock, currently owned by New York Waterway, for public open space.

According to the city, Mayor Ravi Bhalla’s administration and New York Waterway have agreed on a purchase price of $18.5 million for the waterfront property. New York Waterway will work with the State of New Jersey to explore opportunities to expand its ferry operations at their current location in Weehawken.

The acquisition of the Union Dry Dock property will allow Hoboken to complete the connection of a contiguous, public waterfront with a public park. The property is one of the only portions of Hoboken’s waterfront that is not publicly accessible.

“New Jersey is committed to protecting and preserving our shorelines and waterfront areas,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This agreement is a major step forward in our collective efforts to connect Hudson County’s waterfront and provide more open, public space for all New Jersey residents to utilize. I applaud Mayor Bhalla and New York Waterway for working together to identify a path forward that will not only improve mass transit infrastructure, but also enhance the quality of life and local environment of our waterfront community.”

The city and NYWW are preparing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the city’s acquisition of the Union Dry Dock property.

A contiguous waterfront

After the adoption of the MOU, the city and NYWW will formalize the terms agreed to by the parties, which will include acquisition costs of approximately $14.5 million from Hoboken’s Open Space Trust Fund, which has no impact on the municipal budget, as well as an additional $4 million, which the city will bond for.

As part of the agreement, once the city acquires the property, it would temporarily lease the Union Dry Dock property to New York Waterway “for a designated period of time,” until the permanent ferry station in Weehawken is complete.

During that time, Hoboken will begin a public process to determine the permanent design of the park.

“The agreement we’ve reached with New York Waterway is one of the most consequential in our City’s history,” said Bhalla. “Hoboken has been fighting for a continuous waterfront for decades, and I’m beyond thrilled this will finally become a reality. Our residents can now look forward to a waterfront that will become fully public, fully accessible, and fully open for all to enjoy. I am beyond grateful to Governor Murphy and his staff, and New York Waterway for working with us to come to this deal that will dramatically improve Hoboken’s waterfront for generations to come. And, I thank the thousands of residents who have voiced support for our efforts, which helped make this day possible.”

“I thank the Murphy Administration for helping to mediate this long-standing dispute over the Union Dry Dock property,” said Armand Pohan, president and CEO of New York Waterway. “Hoboken and New York Waterway are too important to each other to remain at odds. It is time for all of us to resolve our issues and move forward.”

Previously, Hoboken appraised the Union Dry Dock property at $13.1 million, while New York Waterway appraised the property at $24 million.

The agreement between the parties will end all eminent domain proceedings and potential litigation.

The Hoboken City Council is scheduled to vote on the MOU at the July 7 council meeting.

Watch the video: Hoboken New Jersey History and Cartography 1881


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  4. Marsden

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