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  • Also Known As: Shipwreck Site and Remains, U.S.S. MONITOR
  • Also Known As: Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

  • Vicinity: Off the North Carolina coast, 16 mi SE of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  • Type: Marine Environ
  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Site

Situated just 16 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary protects the shipwreck of the famed Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor. The Monitor, while under tow to Beaufort, NC, sank during a storm on December 31, 1862, and was not discovered until 1973. Today the sanctuary is managed by a staff of seven full-time employees through a combination of education, archaeology, marine science and regulatory programs. Staff members are located at offices in Newport News, Va. - NOAA


Visiting the USS Monitor is not easy as it lies on the bottom of the ocean at about 240 feet. Fortunately, for those who don't want to get their feet wet, there are many places that offer visitors the opportunity to discover the wonders of this great ship. From our primary visitor's center at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, people can walk through exhibits, interact with kiosks, download videos and more. Each venue offers visitors a better understanding of the significant contributions Monitor made to our nation's history. - NOAA

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Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1861/10/25 John Ericsson Architect Designed by the Swedish-born engineer and inventor John Ericsson a, keel of the USS MONITOR is laid down at the Continental Iron Works (lost), West and Calyer Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
1862/02/25 United States Navy Owner USS MONITOR becomes the first ironclad ship to be commissioned into service by the United States Navy.
1862/03/09 United States Navy Union forces As the CSS VIRGINIA returns with four other Confederate vessels to sink the USS MINNESOTA, the USS MONITOR appears and engages battle for the next 5 hours. Battle of Hampton Roads
1862/12/31 While under tow to Beaufort, the side-wheeler steamer Rhode Island, MONITOR is swamped by high waves and sinks off the coast of Cape Hatteras. Of the 63 men on board, four officers and twelve crewmen lost their lives. USS Monitor's Final Voyage
1973/08/27 Sponsored by Duke University, the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation, an expedition discovers the wreck of the Monitor using a towed sonar system. USS Monitor's Final Voyage
1975/01/30 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Custodian Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS) is designated as America's first national marine sanctuary.
2002/08/05 After 41 days of work, the USS MONITOR's gun turret is salvaged. The turret, propeller, anchor, engine and personal effects of the crew are at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia. USS Monitor's Final Voyage

Data »

Particulars for USS MONITOR:
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Area of Significance Engineering
Owner Federal
Criteria Historic Event
Criteria Information Potential
Area of Significance Invention
Boat Feature Ironclad
Category Marine Environ
Area of Significance Maritime
Area of Significance Military
Level of Significance National
Historic Use Naval Facility
Sight Category Site
Area of Significance Social History
Boat Style Warship
Historic Use Water-related

US National Registry of Historic Places Data »

Accurate at time of registration: 11th October 1974

Registry Name: USS MONITOR
Registry Address: Address Restricted
Registry Number: 74002299
Resource Type: Site
Owner: Federal
Architect: Ericsson,John
Architectural Style: Other
Attribute: Ironclad warship
Area in Acres: 9
Contributing Sites: 1
Contributing Objects: 1
Other Certification: Designated National Landmark
Certification: Listed in the National Register
Nominator Name: National Historic Landmark
Level of Significance: National
Area of Significance: Engineering, Military, Maritime history, Invention, Social history
Applicable Criteria: Event, Architecture-Engineering, Information Potential
Cultural Affiliation: American naval
Period of Significance: 1850-1874
Significant Year: 1862
Historic Function: Transportation, Defense
Historic Sub-Function: Naval facility, Water-related
Current Function: Landscape
Current Sub-Function: Street furniture, object

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