How fast did the USS Monitor's turret traverse?

It seems that the CSS Virginia could have gotten a lucky shot in, since they were often toughing.

The turret could do one rotation in 22.5 seconds (according to Wikipedia). It was heavy and difficult to control, and tended to overshoot since once it was moving with all that weight it was hard to stop.

What do you mean “could have gotten a shot in?” It did. But its shells glanced off the flat armored deck without exploding. Those that hit the turret didn’t penetrate.

If you are thinking the Virginia could have put a shot through the gun port of the turret:
Cannons in 1860’s were no where close to have that kind of accuracy, and even if they did, putting one on a ship made it less stable and controllable.

Wow, Thanks.

Hijack: several years ago I had to spend a few weeks in Virginia. I was exploring the area and saw signs for the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. I went in without any knowledge of what I would find. I had no idea that they found and brought up parts of the Monitor. In the museum they have the turret, engine, cannon and other artifacts. They also have a life sized replica. Definitely worth the trip if you are in the area.

In fact, the heavy iron shutters intended to close over the gunports to protect the inside of the turret when not shooting were unreliable. Simply turning the turret away from the enemy was a better way of keeping shells out of the gunports. But because it was so difficult to stop or reverse the turret’s rotation, during actual battle the turret was simply set to rotating continuously, and the gunners fired during the times the gunports were facing the enemy. In theory, a lucky shell could have entered then, but in practice it never happened.

Would a non-ironclad have had a better chance or any chance of sinking the Monitor by ramming it or forcing it to take on water through its turret by (and you can tell I’ve been to sea once, on a ferry) causing it to shift its balance about too much?

This is as close as the Virginia came:

Without a doubt. The design was notoriously unseaworthy.

Hello All. If you have other questions that need to be addressed, we’d be happy to help! For all things Monitor, just email us at You can also see our blog at

There you go, chacoguy. See what you started? :stuck_out_tongue:

Humph. Nothing ruins a good online debate like having, you know, an expert ring in. :smiley:

I don’t see why. Just because they are a museum full of specialists on the subject, with artifacts from the ship in question and all the historical documentation, that makes them experts? :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you!:cool:

Really, all that clouding the issue with facts :stuck_out_tongue:

Back in the day I lived on the river near ODU right when stuff started getting interesting. I don’t think that they found the Rev war stuff they were looking for, but I do remember something in the news about some civil war battle they did find. 1985 was an interesting year.

My God, do you suppose they’ve been monitoring us all along? It all makes sense!

Just to tie things together, here’s a previous thread on the USS Monitor:

Told you so.