Student Activities

Speak Like a Sailor

The ships have changed but much of the vocabulary is still in use. Brush up on your vocabulary here.

Read it, Feel it, Live it

William Keeler was the Acting Paymaster aboard the USS Monitor and his letters home to his wife are an astonishing account of life aboard the ironclad.

"As we neared the land, clouds of smoke could be seen hanging over it in the direction of the Fortress (Monroe), & as we approached still nearer little black spots could occasionally be seen suddenly springing into the air, remaining stationary for a moment or two & then gradually expanding into a large white cloud-these were shells & tended to increase the excitement. As the darkness increased, the flashes of guns lit up the distant horizon & bursting shells flashed in the air."

Pop Quiz

Now that you've read all about Keeler, take our little quiz to see how well you would do under pressure. Don't worry, unlike William Keeler no one will be firing cannons at you while you try to write.

Navigate Around the Ships

Can you find your way around the Ironclads? You need to know the difference between a hatch and hull, a ram and a rudder. Look up these terms before you board.

Now that you've got your sea legs under you, go ahead and print these diagrams and label them. If you're sure you've got it right, go ahead and have a peek at the answer key. Just don't cheat or you'll be swabbing the deck, matey!

Answer Key

Monitor crew

Meet the Monitor Boys



We're in a race to conserve history! Follow along as artifacts are uncovered and more facts are learned about the Monitor and the men who served aboard!

From the heart breaking accounts of life aboard the ironclads to thrilling descriptions of the battles recounted by those who witnessed them you're sure to learn something new!