The USS Monitor, with its turreted center gun was launched today, January 30th 1862. The Monitor was the first ironclad commissioned by the United States Navy. She is more famous for the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9th 1862 in which the Monitor fought the Confederate ship the CSS Virginia.
The Monitor was designed by John Ericsson a Swedish engineer, but Saratoga Springs, New York‘s Theodore Timby designed the revolving gun turret. She was described as a “cheese box on a raft”. The deck was armored and sat just above the waterline, and was built at the Continental Iron Works in Brooklyn,NY. Although the Monitor preformed well in river combat, she was not made for the rough waters of the ocean. She became swamped during a storm by high waves off Cape Hatteras,North Carolina on December 31st 1862. Sixteen of her sixty-two crew were lost in the storm.