USS Weehawken, USS Montauk, and USS Passaic

Stiles/Akin

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#1
Did you know Confederate photographer George Cook took the world’s first combat photo on September 8th, 1863? Cook took this photograph of the monitors USS Weehawken, USS Montauk, and USS Passaic as they attacked the Confederate batteries at Fort Moultrie. Cannon smoke can be seen surrounding the ships' turrets. But what happened to these three Ironclads?

Later in 1863, the Union ironclad USS Weehawken lay anchored off Morris Island, S.C., during a moderate gale. Early on the morning of December 6th, the ironclad suddenly signaled 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 ft of water. Four officers and 27 enlisted men perished aboard the Weehawken
The USS Montauk remained off Charleston until July 1864, when she shifted operations to the Stono River. In February 1865, she transferred to the Cape Fear River, North Carolina. Proceeding to the Washington Navy Yard after the end of the conflict, she served as a floating bier for assassin John Wilkes Booth, and on April 27th and a floating prison for six accomplices.
The autopsy of John Wilkes Booth was performed on the USS Montauk after he was killed in April 1865. The ship was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1865. She remained there until sold to Frank Samuel on April 14, 1904, except for a stint from May 1898 to March 1899, when she served with a crew primarily consisting of local naval reservists to protect the harbor of Portland, Maine during the Spanish–American War.
The USS Passaic's combat service was the least historic, but not the least eventful, of the three. The ships' service began on on February 23rd,1863, in Wassau Sound, Georgia, she took part in the capture of a blockade-running schooner. On March 3rd, during an intended "shakedown" operation for new monitors, she bombarded Fort McAllister, on Georgia's Ogeechee River. Passaic was one of nine ironclads that attacked Fort Sumter, off Charleston, South Carolina, on April 7th, 1863. She received serious damage at that time and had to go to New York for repairs.
Returning to the war zone in late July, Passaic kept busy over the next two months bombarding Confederate fortifications at the harbor entrance. Among other contributions, her gunfire helped to reduce Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, facilitating its capture in early September. Passaic spent the remainder of the war operating in South Carolina and Georgia waters. Returning north after the conflict's end, she decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June 1865.
After more than a decade in reserve, Passaic recommissioned in November 1876. She was receiving ship at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., in 1878-82, then was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, during 1883-92. The now-elderly monitor was employed on Naval Militia service in Massachusetts and Georgia during much of the rest of the 1890s and recommissioned in May 1898 for Spanish-American War duty. After a brief tour in Florida waters, she was decommissioned for the last time in September 1898. USS Passaic was sold in October 1899.
Photo: Library of Congress
53100442_1013900532138897_940682813751951360_o.jpg
 

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Carronade

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#3
The ship on right does not look like a Passaic class monitor. Isn't it the New Ironsides?
Sure looks like. She appears to have just fired from one of her broadside gunports.

The monitors have odd silhouettes at the angle they appear in this photo, turret, pilothouse, and funnel looking like one piece of superstructure, like a tugboat going in the opposite direction :wink:
 

Stiles/Akin

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#4
George Cook’s photograph of Union ironclads firing on Fort Moultrie, S.C., believed to be the world’s first combat photograph.
Monitors engage Confederate batteries on Sullivan's Island, Charleston, South Carolina. Photographed from one of the Confederate emplacements, the ships are identified as (from left to right): Weehawken, Montauk and Passaic. The monitor on the right appears to be firing its guns. Date is given as 8 September 1863, when other U.S. Navy ships were providing cover for Weehawken, which had gone aground on the previous day. She was refloated on the 8th after receiving heavy gunfire from the Confederate fortifications.

Photo courtesy of the Cook Collection, Valentine Richmond History.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph USNHC # NH 51964.
 

Stiles/Akin

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#5
https://www.history.navy.mil/our-co.../nhhc-series/nh-series/NH-51000/NH-51964.html

Title: Monitors engage Confederate batteries on Sullivan's Island, Charleston, South Carolina.
Description: Photographed from one of the Confederate emplacements, the ships are identified as (from left to right): USS Weehawken, USS Montauk and USS Passaic. The monitor on the right appears to be firing its guns. Date is given as 8 September 1863, when other U.S. Navy ships were providing cover for Weehawken, which had gone aground on the previous day. She was refloated on the 8th after receiving heavy gunfire from the Confederate fortifications. This image is a detail of that seen in Photo # NH 60906. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
Catalog #: NH 51964
 

Carronade

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#6
The caption says Passaic, but the ship doesn't look anything like the other monitors, which were all the same class. It looks a lot like New Ironsides, which was present and heavily engaged covering the recovery of the grounded Weehawken. Passaic was also present, which the photographer or captioner likely knew, so a mistaken identification is not unreasonable.
 
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#9
But what happened to these three Ironclads?
First attempted siege of Charleston April 1863:
U.S.S. Weehawken, which had been chosen to lead the Union fleet, was equipped with a torpedo catcher or “devil” (Figure 16- Harper’s Wkly 25 Apl 1863), designed by John Ericsson, for collecting hidden torpedoes safely from the path of the vessels falling behind. In the words of seaman Franklin Matthews, “This torpedo catcher was an awkward thing. When the ship rose, it fell; when the ship sank, it rose. The men on board the Weehawken were more afraid of it than they were of an enemy’s ship.”[1] Despite the precautionary effort, Weehawken was still damaged by a torpedo explosion. However, the monitor suffered much greater abuse from 53 shells delivered from shore.

USS Passaic had to be towed to Port Royal for repairs, and several other monitors suffered a great deal of damage.

In February 1863, the ironclad USS Montauk was severely damaged on the Ogeechee River in Georgia. The vessel had a hole blown in the lower hull, but the crew was able to ground the vessel and make repairs in the field. Still the vessel was a Charleston for the first siege attempt

[1] Matthews 1915, 126.
 

rebelatsea

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#10
Sure looks like. She appears to have just fired from one of her broadside gunports.

The monitors have odd silhouettes at the angle they appear in this photo, turret, pilothouse, and funnel looking like one piece of superstructure, like a tugboat going in the opposite direction :wink:
She has also just obscured the sights of the nearest monitor !
 
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#14
Here is another perspective from photographers Hass & Peale. One of my sources identifies the monitors in the distance as the Passaic, Montauk, Nahant, Patapsco and Lehigh.
The only ship I could ID there was New Ironsides- the first one seen.
She was a large menacing ship, whereas the monitors were, by design, a much less visual presence.

1552976711148.png
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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#17
Did you know Confederate photographer George Cook took the world’s first combat photo on September 8th, 1863? Cook took this photograph of the monitors USS Weehawken, USS Montauk, and USS Passaic as they attacked the Confederate batteries at Fort Moultrie. Cannon smoke can be seen surrounding the ships' turrets. But what happened to these three Ironclads?

Later in 1863, the Union ironclad USS Weehawken lay anchored off Morris Island, S.C., during a moderate gale. Early on the morning of December 6th, the ironclad suddenly signaled 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 ft of water. Four officers and 27 enlisted men perished aboard the Weehawken
The USS Montauk remained off Charleston until July 1864, when she shifted operations to the Stono River. In February 1865, she transferred to the Cape Fear River, North Carolina. Proceeding to the Washington Navy Yard after the end of the conflict, she served as a floating bier for assassin John Wilkes Booth, and on April 27th and a floating prison for six accomplices.
The autopsy of John Wilkes Booth was performed on the USS Montauk after he was killed in April 1865. The ship was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1865. She remained there until sold to Frank Samuel on April 14, 1904, except for a stint from May 1898 to March 1899, when she served with a crew primarily consisting of local naval reservists to protect the harbor of Portland, Maine during the Spanish–American War.
The USS Passaic's combat service was the least historic, but not the least eventful, of the three. The ships' service began on on February 23rd,1863, in Wassau Sound, Georgia, she took part in the capture of a blockade-running schooner. On March 3rd, during an intended "shakedown" operation for new monitors, she bombarded Fort McAllister, on Georgia's Ogeechee River. Passaic was one of nine ironclads that attacked Fort Sumter, off Charleston, South Carolina, on April 7th, 1863. She received serious damage at that time and had to go to New York for repairs.
Returning to the war zone in late July, Passaic kept busy over the next two months bombarding Confederate fortifications at the harbor entrance. Among other contributions, her gunfire helped to reduce Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, facilitating its capture in early September. Passaic spent the remainder of the war operating in South Carolina and Georgia waters. Returning north after the conflict's end, she decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in June 1865.
After more than a decade in reserve, Passaic recommissioned in November 1876. She was receiving ship at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C., in 1878-82, then was assigned to the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, during 1883-92. The now-elderly monitor was employed on Naval Militia service in Massachusetts and Georgia during much of the rest of the 1890s and recommissioned in May 1898 for Spanish-American War duty. After a brief tour in Florida waters, she was decommissioned for the last time in September 1898. USS Passaic was sold in October 1899.
Photo: Library of Congress
View attachment 296886
That is the clearest image of that photo I've ever seen! Wonderful!
 

chubachus

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#19
The original stereoscopic glass negative resides at the Valentine Richmond History Center today: https://www.richmond.com/news/first...cle_8c7872a0-165e-54f2-84ce-1444cef3b390.html

Unfortunately they do not provide high resolution versions of it online. I cannot even find it in their collection database. There are though hundreds of other postwar Cook photos there and at least 1-2 taken during and before the war.
 

chubachus

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#20
I believe this crop is the clearest version available online (scan of glass negative from the above article):

sumter ironclads.jpg


The OP image looks like someone tried to "restore" a version of it. IMO it does not look very good.
 
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