Monitor Turret by Orientation

These images are arranged by orientation of the turret. As you go down the page from number to number, it is as though the turret rotated to your right by 45 degrees. These pictures were taken on different days. Differences in coloration depend upon whether the turret had dried out.

I've included upside down versions of the photographs (not all, just those with different views) of the Monitor.

The two gun ports are labelled S and P for starboard and port. In 1862, if the guns were pointed over the bow, the port gunport would be on the port side of the ship. If you were on the deck and looked at the gun ports, the starboard gunport would be on the left. In the upside down configuration, the starboard gunport appears to the right of the port gunport.

I will need to clean this up later, but I need some way to label points on the turret, so I will make my own up for now. (If any Monitor expert can point me to an accepted way of referring to the points on the turret, I would appreciate it.)

If I label the vertical set of three (horizontally) bolt heads that go between the two gunport as 0 (or 20) and then go starboard (visually left on the upright turret, right on the turret when it is upside down), my label for the next set of bolts is 1 (which run through the starboard gunport), etc. The ladder was partly on set 7, towards set 6. It appears there are 20 bolt sets. If so, each set represents 18 degrees. I will call the middle bolt of set 0 to be at 0 degrees. It appears that the gunports are not equally spaced around the center of bolt set 0. The starboard gunport is centered on the middle of the set 1 while the port gunport appears to be centered on the left bolt of set 19.

The turret was 9' tall inside. It appears to me that that standard distance between bolt heads was about 9". I will measure vertical distance by this scale. I will call 0" to be the visible part of the turret above the deck. I believe this is 1" above the base of the turret.

There were 12 supports for the canvas cover on the top of the turret. It appears that halfway up to the cover are holes for stringing a rope railing through. Besse indicates that the line (rope?) around the turret near the top was for lashing down a canvas screen.

From the July 9, 1862 pictures ( LOC[LC-B815-0659]) there is a dent (D1) between bolt set 1 and 2 (about 24 degrees) just below the third set of bolts from the bottom (about 18" above the deck). Immediately to its upper left is another dent (D2) just to the right of the middle bolt of bolt set 2 (35 degrees) about 30" above the deck. There are signs of a weak dent (D3) just to the left of the left bolt of that set (about 39 degrees) about 32" above the deck.

A dent (D4) in bolt set 18 can also barely be seen in the 1862 pictures but is much more obvious in the recovered turret. It is in the rightmost (when viewed right side up) bolt of bolt set 18 (321 degrees), about 12" above the deck.

Other dents (I'll get more accurate placement later): It appears that the photographs of the officers is on the forward part of the ship while those of the men are on the aft part of the ship. If the turret hasn't been turned, then I can estimate the position of the dents. The photo of Jeffers is hard to place and I may just have to assume he is sitting in the middle of where the officers were.

E.V. White (of the Virginia) wrote in 1906:

"The 'Monitor' was hit by 23 projectiles. Some shells were thrown by the 'Minnesota' at the 'Merrimac,' and they produced no more effect than a blow of a hammer. The balls from the 'Merrimac,' especially those fired almost muzzle to muzzle, produced some results. Three cylindro-conical balls fired from the rifle guns made an indentation nearly four inches deep on the armor plating. Two of them made an equally deep indentation on the inside of the turret, and a man leaning against the inside walls at the place receiving the blow was thrown forward and wounded. A third projectile struck one of the iron plates of the pilot-house and made such a depression that iron splinters were violently thrown off and blinded the captain, who at that moment was leaning his head against the plate. The other shots which reached the 'Monitor,' and were for the most part round, did not appear to me to have produced a very great effect, those especially which struck the sides perpendicularly; two, however, struck the side at the edge of the deck, lifting and tearing it, causing the iron plates to give way and breaking three of them. The others only produced insignificant effects."


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