Today in History:

Nantucket (1863-1900)

USS Nantucket, a 1335-ton Passaic class monitor, was built at Boston, Massachusetts. Commissioned in February 1863, she was soon sent to join the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in the waters off Georgia and South Carolina. On 7 April 1863, Nantucket took part in a major naval attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. She was hit 51 times by Confederate gunfire in this effort, which both failed to silence the fort and demonstrated the limitations of monitor-type ironclads.

Soon repaired, Nantucket returned to duty off Charleston, where she participated in bombardments of the defending forts during July, August and September 1863. Her gunfire, and that of the other Federal ironclads, were important elements in forcing the evacuation of Battery Wagner on 7 September. For the rest of the Civil War, Nantucket remained in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, helping to deter action by Confederate ironclads and assisting in the enforcement of the blockade. She was placed out of commission at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in July 1865.

After ten years "in ordinary" at Philadelphia, during which time she was briefly renamed Medusa, Nantucket was transferred to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She was recommissioned for brief periods in 1882 and 1884, then went back into reserve at New York. The old monitor served with the North Carolina Naval Militia after 1895 and provided coast defense services at Port Royal, South Carolina, during the 1898 Spanish-American War. USS Nantucket was sold for scrapping in November 1900.

This page features all the views we have related to USS Nantucket (1863-1900).

Photo #: NH 1353

USS Nantucket

Lithograph by Endicott & Company, New York, published circa the mid-1860s.

Courtesy of Charles Moran, 1935.

Photo #: NH 66760-A

USS Nantucket

Photographed circa the 1880s or 1890s.

Photo #: NH 464-KN (Color)

Civil War Ironclads at Sea

Chromolithograph by Armstrong & Company, after an 1893 watercolor by Fred S. Cozzens, published in "Our Navy -- Its Growth and Achievements", 1897.
Ships depicted are (from left to right):
Monadnock class twin-turret monitor;
Passaic class single-turret monitor (in foreground);
USS Naugatuck;
USS Keokuk
USS New Ironsides and
USS Nantucket.

Collection of Captain Glenn Howell, USN, 1974.

Photo #: NH 59269

"Panoramic View of Charleston Harbor. -- Advance of Ironclads to the Attack, April 7th, 1863"

Line engraving published in "The Soldier in our Civil War", Volume II, page 172, with a key to individual ships and land features shown.
U.S. Navy ships present are (from left to center): Keokuk, Nahant, Nantucket, Catskill, New Ironsides, Patapsco, Montauk, Passaic and Weehawken.