The USS Weehawken was an enlarged version of the USS Monitor, a Passaic class ironclad. She was launched by the Zeno Secor & Company of Jersey City, New Jersey on November 5th 1862. Accompanied by the USS Iroquois bound for duty as part of the South Atlantic Blocking Squadron they left New York January 18th 1863. They encountered high winds and heavy seas off the coast of New Jersey, but the Weehawken was better designed then her archetype the Monitor, and her commander Captain John Rodgers put her safely into Norfolk on February 1st 1863.
On April 7th 1863 the Weehawken led the first assault against Confederate installations in the Charleston, South Carolina harbor. During the failed action the Weehawken took 53 direct hits and a torpedo. She did not suffer any real damage. Her next action was again the CSS Atlanta in Wassaw Sound, Georgia. With just five shots the crew of the Weehawken put the Atlanta out of action, and got Captain Rodgers a commendation from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and a promotion to Commodore.