Today in History:

Nahant (1862-1904)

USS Nahant, a 1335-ton Passaic class monitor, was built at South Boston, Massachusetts. She was commissioned in late December 1862 and arrived in South Carolina waters in February 1863 to become part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. A few days later, on 3 March, she participated in a bombardment of Fort McAllister, Georgia, as part of a test of the combat qualities of the U.S. Navy's new monitors. Nahant was one of nine ironclads that attacked Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on 7 April 1863. In this action against the centerpiece of Charleston harbor's defenses, the limitations of the monitor design were clearly demonstrated along with their powers of resistance to heavy gunfire. Nahant was hit 36 times by Confederate gunners and was left with a disabled turret and one man killed.

Following repairs, Nahant moved to Wassau Sound, Georgia, where she supported USS Weehawken in a battle on 17 June 1863 that quickly produced the surrender of the Confederate ironclad Atlanta. During the following July, August and September, the monitor joined several of her sisters in a lengthy campaign against Charleston's fortifications that bore fruit with the capture of Battery Wagner, on Morris Island. On 15-16 November 1863, Nahant again bombarded enemy defenses and helped rescue USS Lehigh after that monitor went aground under fire.

For the rest of the Civil War, Nahant remained in the South Carolina area, supporting the blockade by deterring an attack by Confederate ironclads based at Charleston. On 2 February 1865, she took part in the destruction of the grounded blockade runner Presto. Nahant was decommissioned in August 1865, some months after the conflict's end, and was laid up at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for more than three decades. She was renamed Atlas in June 1869 but regained her original name a few months later.

When the Spanish-American War began in April 1898, Nahant was placed back in commission. She performed coastal defense duties in New York Harbor through the short war, then returned to Philadelphia for lay up. USS Nahant was sold for scrapping in April 1904.

This page features all the views we have related to USS Nahant (1862-1904).

Photo #: NH 45634

USS Nahant

Laid up at the League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa the late 1800s. Another monitor is alongside, at left.

Photo #: NH 45635

USS Nahant

In New York Harbor, during her Spanish-American War service, 1898. Her turret guns are run out, in firing position.
Photographed by Hart.

Photo #: NH 69787

USS Nahant

Photographed in 1898, possibly while being prepared for Spanish-American War service. Note that her turret has a "roof" of the type fitted to monitors while they were laid up in reserve.
Photographed by A. Loeffler, Tompkinsville, N.Y.

Courtesy of Commander Clayton A. Johnson, USN.

Photo #: NH 59288

Bombardment of Fort McAllister, Georgia, 3 March 1863

Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", January-June 1863, page 196, depicting the bombardment of Fort McAllister by the U.S. Navy monitors Passaic, Patapsco and Nahant. The engraving is based on a sketch by "an eye-witness" on board USS Montauk, which is in the right center foreground. In the left foreground, firing on the fort, are the mortar schooners C.P. Williams, Norfolk Packet and Para. Among other U.S. Navy ships involved were gunboats Wissahickon, Seneca and Dawn and tug Dandelion.

Photo #: NH 59287

Bombardment of Fort McAllister, Georgia, 3 March 1863

Line engraving, after a sketch by W.T. Crane, published in "The Soldier in Our Civil War", Volume II, page 39. It depicts the U.S. Navy monitors Patapsco, Passaic and Nahant firing on Fort McAllister (at far left) from the Ogeechee River. Other U.S. Navy ships are in the foreground. Montauk is the monitor in this group (farthest from the artist). Firing on the fort from the right foreground are mortar schooners, including C.P. Williams, Norfolk Packet and Para. Among other U.S. Navy ships involved were gunboats Wissahickon, Seneca and Dawn and tug Dandelion, all screw steamers.

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.

Photo #: NH 82124-KN (color)

USS Nahant (1862-1904)

Crewmen swabbing out one of her turret guns, during drills at the New York Navy Yard, 1898. USS New Orleans is in the background.
The original photograph was published on a color-tinted postcard by Raphael Tuck & Sons.

Collection of Lieutenant Commander Abraham DeSomer, donated by Myles DeSomer, 1975.

Photo #: NH 100797-KN (color)

USS Nahant (1862-1904)

Crewmen mending the U.S. flag on deck, 1898. Dents in the ship's turret armor were caused by Confederate gunfire during the Civil War, some thirty-five years earlier.
The original photograph was published on a color-tinted postcard by the Robbins Brothers Co., Boston. It was copyrighted by Waldon Fawcett, Washington, D.C., circa 1898.

Courtesy of Carter Rila, 1986.