Bits & Pieces... by David Sundman

A Civil War Wreck, Resurrected

[photo: U.S.S. Monitor token]

U.S.S. Monitor token

Nearly 150 years ago, shortly after its historic battle with the Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, the Union ironclad submarine U.S.S. Monitor sank on December 31, 1862, just 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Rediscovered in the 1970s, the wreck site is the nation’s first National Marine Sanctuary.

Now, time and the sea are taking her apart. To rescue what remains before the sea destroys her, teams of divers are now moored over the wreck site, retrieving major portions of the wreck for permanent display ashore. On August 8th, the steam engine recovered from the wreckage of the Civil War ironclad U.S.S. Monitor arrived at the Mariners’ Museum for preservation and eventual display. More than 140 artifacts from the ship were brought up by divers this summer, ranging from a piece of a shoe sole to the engine. Many of the items already are being conserved at the museum and are on display. For coin collectors, this first Union ironclad is forever commemorated on several different U.S. Civil War tokens. For more information, see www.monitorcenter.org.