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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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Ironclad: 1862

Ironclad: 1862

July 9, 1862. Deck and turret of U.S.S. Monitor on the James River, Virginia. From photographs of the Federal Navy, and seaborne expeditions against the Atlantic Coast of the Confederacy. Wet collodion glass negative, left half of stereo pair. Photographed by James F. Gibson. View full size.

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Monitor photos

All of the known photos of the USS Monitor were shot by James Gibson on (July ?) 1862. The location is in the James somewhere around City Point (modern Hopewell, Virginia). The paymaster William Keeler wrote his wife almost every day and created an exceptional account of life on this ship. An unknown portion of this battle damage could be friendly fire. The Monitor was a cipher the morning the CSS Virginia came for the USS Minnesota. The Minnesota was grounded but she was still one of the most powerful warships on the planet, and her captain told the Monitor to clear the field of fire. Instead, the crazy little tin can ran slam out into the middle of the battlefield, and got hit many times by the guns of the Minnesota.

Monitor Awning

The awning kept the heat down inside the turret, the top of which was open grillwork.

Full circle

It's funny to see it pristine. I am accustomed to the photos that have emerged since the discovery of the wreck and the artifacts that have been salvaged, including the propeller and part of the shaft.

July 9

Judging from the unbuttoned coats and straw hat, and by the date the photo was taken, I'd say it was a pretty warm day. I'm sure the sailors were more than thankful for the fabric that saved them from the direct sun. Can you imagine having to sit inside such an overdeveloped tin can in the Southern summer?

Gazebo roof

What was that fabric roof possibly for? Shielding those two sailors from the sun while they play cards, or whatever it is they're doing?

Garrett Dash Nelson


I love this blog. Very beautiful and high standard photographs in great quality. Thanks.

Impact Damage

Wow, Imagine what those broken off rivets did with the gun crew inside the turret.

SHORPY OLD 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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