Union Monitors


On March 14, 1861, Gideon Wells became President Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy. A month later the country was irrevocably plunged into war. When Lincoln approved the “Anaconda Plan,” devised by General Winfield Scott, he committed his navy to a course for which it was ill-prepared. The strategy envisaged the encirclement of the Confederacy by both a naval blockade of Southern ports and a drive down the Mississippi River. Scotts’ Anaconda would constrict his victim, squeezing the life out of the Confederacy by applying pressure to its borders.

When the war was declared in April 1861 the US Navy had just over 90 warships at its disposal, but 48 were either in refit or were unfit for service, and another 28 vessels were deployed overseas. The remaining vessels were clearly insufficient to put into effect any blockade of the Confederate coast, so Welles instituted a huge expansion of the fleet. This included the aquisition and conversion of merchant ships until new purpose-built vessels could be constructed. He also considered the consttruction of armored warships. Both Welles and his Confederate counterpart were aware of the introduction of ironclad warships into the French and British fleets. During 1861 Welles became increasingly convinced that his naval plans would necessarily involve the adoption of a new breed of ironclad warships.

On March 14, 1861, Gideon Wells became President Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy. A month later the country was irrevocably plunged into war. When Lincoln approved the “Anaconda Plan,” devised by General Winfield Scott, he committed his navy to a course for which it was ill-prepared. The strategy envisaged the encirclement of the Confederacy by both a naval blockade of Southern ports and a drive down the Mississippi River. Scotts’ Anaconda would constrict his victim, squeezing the life out of the Confederacy by applying pressure to its borders.

When the war was declared in April 1861 the US Navy had just over 90 warships at its disposal, but 48 were either in refit or were unfit for service, and another 28 vessels were deployed overseas. The remaining vessels were clearly insufficient to put into effect any blockade of the Confederate coast, so Welles instituted a huge expansion of the fleet. This included the aquisition and conversion of merchant ships until new purpose-built vessels could be constructed. He also considered the consttruction of armored warships. Both Welles and his Confederate counterpart were aware of the introduction of ironclad warships into the French and British fleets. During 1861 Welles became increasingly convinced that his naval plans would necessarily involve the adoption of a new breed of ironclad warships.

Coastal Monitors
Passaic Class
USS Passaic
USS Montauk
USS Nahant
USS Patapsco
USS Weehawken
USS Sangamon
USS Catskill
USS Nantucket
USS Lehigh
USS Camanche

Cononicus Class
USS Canonicus
USS Saugus
USS Tecumseh
USS Manhattan
USS Mahopac
USS Wyandotte
USS Ajax
USS Catawaba
USS Oneota

Miantonomoh Class
USS Miantonomoh
USS Monadnock
USS Agamenticus
USS Tonawanda

Shallow-Draft Coastal Monitors
Milwaukee Class
USS Milwaukee
USS Winnebago
USS Chicksaw
USS Kickapoo

Casco Class
USS Casco
USS Tunxis
USS Chimo
USS Naubuc
USS Squando
USS Suncook
USS Nausett
USS Shawnee
USS Shiloh
USS Napa
USS Modoc
USS Waxsaw
USS Wassuc
USS Koka
USS Yazoo
USS Cohoes
USS Etlah
USS Klamath
USS Yuma
USS Umpqua

Large Coastal/Seagoing Monitors
Kalamazoo Class
USS Kalamazoo
USS Passaconaway
USS Quinsigamond
USS Shakamaxon

River Monitors
USS Neosho
USS Osage
USS Ozark

No class
USS Roanoke
USS Dictator
USS Puritan

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