The Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia is currently working to restore and reconstruct the innovative engines of the USS Monitor. The USS Monitor was one of the first ironclad naval vessels in the United States and was constructed to confront new Confederate naval technologies that were being employed to break the Union blockade. Most famously, the USS Monitor clashed with the CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) in the first battle involving ironclad ships in Hampton Roads, Virginia. While officially the battle was a standstill, the Monitor was successful in that it prevented the CSS Virginia from breaching the Union blockade.
In a brutal storm in 1862, the Monitor sunk off the coast of Cape Hatteras in the notorious “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” The wreck was rediscovered in 1973 and declared a protected national landmark in 1983. You can read about that expedition in National Geographic’s article: “Civil War Wreck Rises Again: Restoring the Monitor.” This month’s National Geographic highlights the efforts of the Mariner’s Museum to reconstruct and restore the innovative engines of the ill-fated ship in this article: “Monitor’s Innovative Engine Being Restored at Virginia Museum.”