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Difference Between the Monitor and her Successors.


January and February 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, January 9, 1863.

Difference Between the Monitor and her Successors.

But there were some very important matters connected with her construction which are not, by any means, so well understood. In the first place, she was not exactly like the nine vessels that have been built upon the same general theory, many persons suppose, from the fact of these later ships having been so frequently described as in every particular the copy of—each other, unless some accident occurs which has no more to do with the principle or their construction than the foundering of the Persia, with the plan of her model. What this accident has been remains to be learned. Not being needed for any such pressing business as their “progenitor,” there was no necessity for making seagoing requirements secondary to mere fighting efficiency. The great point of their similarity beside belligerent attributes, is this—that notwithstanding the disaster to the Monitor, both the old and the new vessels are perfect life-boats at sea, which cannot possibly founder.

The chief points of difference between the Monitor and her successors are: 1. The Monitor had a dead flat bottom, with sides sloping at an angle of eighty degrees to the vertical line. The new “Monitors” have an ordinary midship section, and an ordinary rise of flow, and a round bilge. They possess what shipbuilders term “a very easy midship body.”

2. The turrets in the new Monitors are supported on four bulkheads, two transverse and two longitudinal ones, very heavily braced with what are called “angle bars.”

The turret, therefore, of the new Monitors is much more firmly supported than in the original, where it in kept up by only a single bulkhead, running across the vessel.

3. The overhang at the stern of the old Monitor was also much greater than in the new vessels. The latter, therefore, are subject to far less strain in a seaway than their famous predecessor.

4. The distinguishing point of difference between the two classes of vessel, however, is the impregnable chimney of the new ones, which can neither be affected by a sea or shot, which the original one did not have.

5. The fresh air for supplying the boilers, and for ventilating purposes, is taken in through the top of the turret in the new ships, instead of being drawn through air trunks as in the derelict Monitor, which are extremely liable to be carried away in a seaway.

These changes were introduced by Captain Ericsson in consequence of the difficulty experienced during the first trip of the Monitor; and but for these difficulties the improvements would not have been made.