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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

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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.


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!

THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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