The Civil War Connections Blog

Monitor Log: 2 March 1862

March 2 found the Monitor still undergoing preparations at the New York Navy Yard (commonly known as the Brooklyn Navy Yard). The sea trails of a few days before had not gone extremely well – Paymaster William Keeler recalled that on February 27 the Monitor had careened “first to the New York side, then to the Brooklyn & so back & forth across the river, first to one side then to the other, like a drunken man on a sidewalk, till we brought up against the gas works with a shock that nearly took us from our feet.”

It turned out that the steering apparatus was not operating properly. Some in the Navy suggested that a new steering mechanism and rudder – designed by someone other than John Ericsson – should be installed.

Ericsson did not react well.


“The Monitor is MINE,” he thundered. “…and I say it shall not be done!…Put in a new rudder ! They would waste a month in doing that; I will make her steer just as easily in three days.”  Ericsson was correct on all points – technically the Monitor was still his. The Navy would not make final payments until after she had proven herself under enemy fire. He quickly set to work in adjusting the steering.


Yet today’s logbook entry seems so calm – a mere litany of weather conditions – belying the frenzy going on in preparation for the Monitor to leave for Hampton Roads:


Remarks March 2/62


From Midnight to 4 A.M. light clear weather  light wind from North – Louis Stodder

From 4 to 8 A.M. wind and weather same –  G Frederickson   LNS

From 8 to Meridian wind & weather light – J. Webber

From Meridian to 4 P.M. weather pleasant & light wind from N.E. – Louis Stodder

From 4 to 6 P.M calm & clear weather – J. Webber

From 6 to 8 P.M. wind & weather same  – G Frederickson      LNS

From 8 to Midnight calm & clear weather  so ends this day – J. Webber