SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

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U.S.S. Onondaga: 1864

U.S.S. Onondaga: 1864

1864. "James River, Virginia. Double-turreted monitor U.S.S. Onondaga; soldiers in rowboat." From photographs of the Federal Navy and seaborne expeditions against the Atlantic Coast of the Confederacy, 1861-1865. View full size.

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USS Onondaga

The Onondaga was a floating fortress with 4 heavy guns and was able to prevent Confederate raids down the James River.

Federal Navy

That was a tough way to earn your three squares a day.

Difficult targets

I've always been amazed at how little the Monitor-class ships rose above the waterline; it is evident that the design was meant for calm, protected coastal waters where the small overboard height would make it difficult to landlocked artillery to aim efficiently to the ships. The problem with this design, as demonstrated by the loss of the U.S.S. Monitor, is that in rough waters they were very prone to being swamped.

Must have been really claustrophobic below deck!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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