Skip to main content
Related Content
Document Type
  • Ship History
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
Location of Archival Materials

Montauk I (Monitor)

(Mon: t. 750;1. 200'; b. 46'; dr. 10'6" s. 7 k.; cpl. 75; a. 1 15", 1 11"; cl. Passaic)

A village and fishing resort on Long Island, N.Y., near Montauk Point, the eastern extremity of New York.


Single‑turreted monitor Montauk was built by John Ericsson at Continental Iron Works, Greenpoint, N.Y.; launched 9 October 1862; and commissioned at New York 14 December 1862, Comdr. John L. Worden in command.

A principal ironclad in the naval attack on Charleston, Montauk departed New York 24 December 1862, arriving Port Royal 19 January 1863 to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Taking advantage of the opportunity to test the ironclads 27 January, Du Pont sent Montauk, Seneca, Wissahickon, Dawn and C. P. Wiliiams to bombard Fort McAlister, Ga. Although hit 13 or 14 times, Montauk was undamaged. The ironclads made a second attack 1 February, badly battering the fort; but Montauk was hit 48 times. She destroyed blockade runner Rattlesnake 28 February in Ogeechee River but was herself damaged by a torpedo (mine) which exploded under her.

Montauk steamed into North Edison River 1 April in preparation for the attack on Charleston. At midafternoon on the 7th, Admiral Du Pont-s ironclads attacked Fort Sumter. The Union ships braved intense fire from Confederates coast artillery, and kept their own guns operating effectively until withdrawing toward evening. Damage to the monitors prevented Du Pont from resuming the attack the next day.

The ironclads launched an attack on Fort Wagner, Morris Island 10 July. Gaining of this island was important as success would permit access to the interior defenses of Charleston Harbor. Assuming command of the naval forces, Dahlgren boarded Montauk 16 July and after consultation with the captains, renewed the attack on Fort Wagner and bombarded it daily until it was evacuated by the Confederates 6 September. The ships then turned their attention to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie operating for the rest of the year against these fortifications which guarded the Cradle of the Rebellion. However, the Confederate works were never to be taken by sea.

Montauk remained off Charleston until July 1864 when she shifted operations to the Stono River. In February 1865, she transferred to the Cape Fear River. Proceeding to Washington after the end of the conflict, she served as a floating bier for assassin John Wilkes Booth 27 April and a floating prison for six accomplices.

Decommissioning at Philadelphia in 1865, she remained there, until sold to Frank Samuel 14 April 1904.

Published: Tue Aug 11 10:14:55 EDT 2015