Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

150 Years Ago-- February 7-8th: How to Fight a Monitor

FEBRUARY 7TH: Confederate steamer St. Mary's, trapped in McGirt's Creek, above Jacksonville, Florida, by the USS Norwich was sunk with cargo of cotton to prevent it falling into Union hands. //// FEBRAURY 8TH: Commander Catesby ap R. Jones, commanding the Confederate Naval Gun Factory at Selma, Alabama, wrote Adnmiral Franklin Buchanan in Mobile of the fighting qualities of the Union monitors: "The revolving turret enables the monitor class to bring their guns to bear without reference to the movements or turning of the vessel. You who fought the Virginia know well how to appreciate that great advantage. You doubtless recollect how often I reported to you that we could not bring one of her ten guns to bear. //// In fighting that class, it is very important to prevent the turret from revolving, which I think may be done either with the VII-inch or 6.4-inch rifles or 64 pounder, providing their projectiles strike the turret at or near its base where it joins the deck.... //// If the turret is prevented from revolving, the vessel is less than efficient than one with the same guns having the ordinary ports, as the monitor's ports are so small that the guns can not be trained except by the helm." Of course, besides revolving, the two cannons in the turret were extremely powerful. //// Buchanan commanded the CSS Virginia in its epic battle with the USS Monitor on the first day. Catesby ap R. Jones took command on the second day's fight after Buchanan was wounded. //// --Old B-Runner

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