USS Monitor and CSS Virginia

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major bill

Colonel
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Joined
Aug 25, 2012
So my first question is why was the USS Monitor so named? Back then we did not have computer monitors so that is not it. TV stations having TV monitors had also not happened yet.

To monitor ca. 1860 was about observing, checking, or keeping records of something. So exactly what was the USS Monitor to monitor? I thought the new style ship was for fighting not for observing.
 

Drew

Major
Joined
Oct 22, 2012
So my first question is why was the USS Monitor so named? Back then we did not have computer monitors so that is not it. TV stations having TV monitors had also not happened yet.

To monitor ca. 1860 was about observing, checking, or keeping records of something. So exactly what was the USS Monitor to monitor? I thought the new style ship was for fighting not for observing.
I'm going to take a wild guess (and it's only that). These ships were originally meant to guard (monitor) ports and had shallow draft for that purpose. They weren't meant to go to sea or engage in major Naval confrontations. That they did so was only happenstance.
 
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major bill

Colonel
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Aug 25, 2012
I'm going to take a wild guess (and it's only that). These ships were originally meant to guard (monitor) ports and had shallow draft for that purpose. They weren't meant to go to sea or engage in major Naval confrontations. That they did so was only happenstance.
As good a guess as any. I thought a Monitor Lizard (think Komodo Dragon) A ten foot long lizard would be a great name for a ship.
 
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FenianPirate

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It was named by John Ericsson as a "monitor" in the sense of an "admonisher" to foreign naval powers, particularly Great Britain.
Right you are, Mark!

From The Monitor and the Navy Under Steam.
by Bennett, Frank M. (1900), pages 80-81:

The name of the battery was given by Ericsson himself, as shown by the following letter written
by him in January, 1862, to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Gustavus Vasa Fox : —

" Sir, — In accordance with your request, I now submit for your approbation a name for the floating battery at Greenpoint [builder Continental Iron Works' New York yard]. The impregnable and aggressive character of this structure will admonish the leaders of the Southern Rebellion that the batteries on the banks of their rivers will no
longer present barriers to the entrance of the Union forces. The ironclad intruder will thus prove a severe monitor to those leaders. But there are other leaders who will also be startled and admonished by the booming of the guns from
the impregnable iron turret. ' Downing Street ' will hardly view with indifference this last ' Yankee notion,' this monitor. To the Lords of the Admiralty the new craft will be a monitor, suggesting doubts as to the propriety of completing
those four steel-clad ships at three and a half millions apiece. On these and many similar grounds, I propose to name the new battery Monitor."
 
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Jul 30, 2016
Location
berlin
So my first question is why was the USS Monitor so named? Back then we did not have computer monitors so that is not it. TV stations having TV monitors had also not happened yet.

To monitor ca. 1860 was about observing, checking, or keeping records of something. So exactly what was the USS Monitor to monitor? I thought the new style ship was for fighting not for observing.
it was to monitor the sinking of confederate ships, maybe :bat:
 

Saphroneth

Captain
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
To the Lords of the Admiralty the new craft will be a monitor, suggesting doubts as to the propriety of completing
those four steel-clad ships at three and a half millions apiece.
Ericsson was, of course, wrong. Warrior cost £377,000 and Defence £252,000, and their sister ships about the same - so an average cost of about £315,000, or $1,575,000 per unit (exchange rates at the time were £1=$5). He's overstated the cost of the British ships by a factor of two at least.

More ****ingly, the cost of the Monitor at $275,000 (about £55,000) was greater than that of any of the Aetna class floating batteries built in the 1850s by about a quarter. As each of these batteries had a 7-8 gun broadside, comparable armour protection and a shallower draft (under 9 feet, as compared to 10 feet 6 in for Monitor) one has leave to question whether the cost argument he makes has any sense to it at all...
 
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