By Alvah F. Hunter, Craig L. Symonds
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Additional resources for A Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter
Their usefulness was not in traditional blockade duty where they might be required to pursue swift and elusive blockade runners, but in combat against shore fortifications. The presumed invincibility of the monitors made them the key to Navy Department plans to force an entry into Charleston Harbor and batter Fort Sumter into submission. And that put Hunter very much at the center of things. In 1863 Charleston was the single most important Atlantic seaport of the Confederacy. Other ports, such as Wilmington, North Carolina, may have been better entrepots for blockade runners, but Charleston was where the war had begun, and the rebel flag flying from Fort Sumter was a continuous and humiliating taunt.
The forward overhang extended fifteen feet and the after overhang twenty-five feet beyond the hull, the greater extension aft being for the protection of the propeller and rudder. The overhang was an important part of the "armor" of the vessel; it was a perfect protection to the hull. The hull curved inward and downward from where it left the overhang, and any shot to touch the hull would have to enter the water thirty or forty feet distant from the side of the ship, hence the force of the shot would be wholly spent before it reached the hull.
A brief physical examination was given me by a surgeon; probably a "boy" wasn't of sufficient importance to require a close examination. Then I was conducted to the outfitting room, where I was supplied with a uniform, two blue flannel shirts, socks, etc. in a clothes bag, a Page 8 hammock with hair mattress and a pair of blankets, and in due time a dozen of us recruits were marched across the bridge to Charlestown, into the navy yard and ferried out to the receiving ship Ohio. My clothes bag and hammock were marked with the number set against my name on the ship's muster roll, the hammock stowed in the hammock-netting above the rail, and I was conducted below to be given opportunity to change my shore clothes for my sailor's uniform.
A Year on a Monitor and the Destruction of Fort Sumter by Alvah F. Hunter, Craig L. Symonds