The American Civil War (1861-1865) has been long remembered for its many land battles dotting the United States countryside but the rivers and coastal areas of the country saw their fair share of fighting thanks to the rise of the ironclad warship. Ironclads were used to rule critical rivers, harbors, and waterways en route to victory which was ultimately claimed by the North. USS Miantonomoh was an ironclad monitor born during the war years when laid down in 1862. She was launched on August 15th, 1873, but would not be commissioned until after the fighting was over - on September 18th, 1865 - leaving this Civil War ironclad with no wartime service to speak of.
USS Miantonomoh was the second ship of the Miantonomoh-class of ironclad monitors. This group included USS Agamenticus, USS, Monadnock, and USS Tonawanda.
Miantonomoh's profile was dominated by a single smoke funnel at amidships with each circular turret emplacement placed fore and aft of this structure. Despite its raised freeboard, the vessel still held a relatively low hull profile from the waterline which was a consistent quality of other ironclads of the war. Well armed and armored, the warship was nonetheless a plodding design with a wide turning radius - qualities also shared between many of the armored Civil War warships. Her structure supporting each turret was also constructed of wood which eventually proved a flaw in her design - prone to rotting and fracturing under the stressed of the heavy guns as well as general wear-and-tear heaped upon the supports by the salty sea.
Miantonomoh's service career formally began in 1865 - the final year of the war. She was assigned to the North Atlantic Squadron and patrolled the American East Coast lanes for a time. With the war over, she steamed from New York to Europe the following year by way of Nova Scotia/ Newfoundland before crossing the heart of the Atlantic. From the Irish coast, she landed at Cherbourg, France in June 1866 and remained in European waters while conducting various stops. She then entered the Baltic Sea for a meeting in Russia during July where she impressed observers from the Russian Navy. She then made her way to Caribbean waters before settling back stateside at League Island, Philadelphia on July 22nd.
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