Fort Fisher

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

Friday, January 11, 2019

Down She Goes, the Sinking of USS Monitor-- Part 3: The Pumps Fail

Continued from January

The Monitor's commander, John P. Bankhead, then ordered the anchor dropped to stop the ship's rolling and  pitching, but this had little effect.  It was no easier for rescue boats to get close enough to get up close enough to do their job.

He then ordered the towline cut and called for volunteers to do it.  Acting Master Stodder along with sailors John Stocking and James Fenwick volunteered and climbed down the turret, but eyewitnesses said that as soon as they reached the deck Fenwick and Stocking were quickly swept overboard and drowned.

Stodder managed to hang on to the safety lines around the deck and got to the towline and cut the 13-inch diameter rope with a hatchet.

Ar 11:30 p.m., Bankhead ordered the engineers to stop the engines and divert all available steam to the large Adams centrifugal steam pump.  After all the steam pumps had failed, Bankhead ordered some of the crew to man the hand pumps and organized a bucket brigade, but to no avail.

--Old B-Runner

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