"A cheesebox on a shingle," scoffed one observer as the USS Monitor steamed slowly toward the Confederacy's hulking iron battleship in March 1862. "A tin can on a shingle," said another. But the odd-looking contraption with its revolving gun turret revolutionized naval warfare. Its one great battle in the spring of 1862 marked the obsolescence of wooden fighting ships and may have saved the Union. Its terrible end in a winter storm off Cape Hatteras condemned sixteen sailors to a watery grave. And the recovery of its 200-ton turret in August 2002 capped the largest, most complex and hazardous ocean salvage operation in history. In Ironclad, Paul Clancy interweaves these stories so skillfully that the cries of drowning Union sailors sound a ghostly undertone to the cough of diesel generators and the clanging of compression-chamber doors on a huge recovery barge. The din and screech of cannonballs on iron plating echo beneath the hum of electronic monitors and the garbled voices of Navy divers working at the edge of human technology and endurance in water 240 feet deep.Clancy studied the letters and diaries of the Monitor's long-ago sailors, and he moved among the salvage divers and archaeologists in the summer of 2002.
John L. Worden, captain of the Monitor, strides from these pages no less vividly than the remarkable Bobbie Scholley, the woman commander of 160 Navy divers on an extreme mission. Clancy writes history as it really happens, the improbable conjunction of personalities, ideas, circumstances, and chance. The Union navy desperately needed an answer to the Confederacy's ironclad dreadnought, and the brilliantly eccentric Swedish engineer John Ericsson had one. And 140 years later, when marine archaeologists despaired of recovering any part of the Monitor before it disintegrated, a few visionaries in the U.S. Navy saw an opportunity to resurrect their deep-water saturation diving program. From the breakneck pace of Monitor's conception, birth, and brief career, to the years of careful planning and perilous labor involved in her recovery, Ironclad tells a compelling tale of technological revolution, wartime heroism, undersea adventure, and forensic science.This book is must-reading for anyone interested in Civil War and naval history, diving and underwater salvage, or adventures at sea.
Table of Contents
Prologue 1. NOTHING IN THE HEAVENS ABOVE 2. FLOATING CITY 3. STANDING OUT TO SEA 4. STRUCTURAL TIME BOMB 5. AS DEAD AS MEN EVER WERE 6. IF THE BUG AIN'T FLYIN' 7. DARK MONSTER 8. WHEN THINGS GO DOWN 9. SLUGFEST 10. IT'S A MAN'S JOB, MA'AM 11. EVERLASTING IRON 12. LUCY'S THE TURRET 13. ORDERS AT LAST 14. SELF-EXILE AT FORTY FATHOMS 15. COLD GREY MANTLE 16. MICHELANGELOS OF THE DEEP 17. SEND YOUR BOATS! 18. YOUR CALL, COMMANDER 19. PANORAMA OF HORROR 20. ALL STATIONS, ALL STATIONS 21. INTO THE ABYSS 22. WE CANNOT FAIL 23. PROUD PAPA 24. PROUD MAMA 25. SECRETS OF THE BONES Those Who Served Acknowledgments Index Color insert found after page 185
Paul Clancy has been a journalist for more than 30 years. He has worked as a staff writer for the Charlotte Observer, the Washington Star, USA Today, and the Virginian-Pilot. Clancy was also a regular contributor to the Washington Post's Outlook Section. He was the editor of Calypso Log, the magazine of the Cousteau Society, and has written for the Smithsonian, Cruising World, Nature Conservancy, Destination Discovery, Chesapeake Bay, and other magazines.