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"NAME U.S. SUB AFTER CIVIL WAR
IRONCLAD," HISTORY BUFFS SAY. GRASSROOTS EFFORT UNDERWAY.
CLEVELAND - Civil War history fans want the
U.S. Navy to honor the famous ironclad U.S.S. Monitor by bestowing her name on
a new submarine.
The first of a new class of nuclear-powered
attack submarines (NSSN) has been named the U.S.S. Virginia. "For the
sake of history, tradition, and symmetry," said Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
president, Mel Maurer, "it would be fitting for a submarine of the
Virginia class to be named the U.S.S. Monitor."
The first Monitor battled the Confederate
ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack) to a draw in Hampton
Roads, Va. on March 9, 1862. In doing so, the Monitor saved the Union
blockading fleet from destruction. She was a technological wonder, and her
clash with the Virginia marked the first time that ironclad warships had ever
fought. The U.S.S. Monitor was lost in a storm off Cape Hatteras, N.C. in
December of 1862.
William Vodrey (chairman of the Cleveland
Civil War Roundtable's Committee to Honor the Monitor) said, "The
original Monitor was one of the most famous ships in American history, but
there hasn't been a warship of that name on active duty in the U.S. Navy since
a troop transport, LSV-5, launched late in World War II."
The U.S. Navy plans to build thirty
Virginia-class submarines. The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable is leading a
grassroots effort to have the Navy name one of them the U.S.S. Monitor and
urging other Roundtables and their members, and other lovers of history, to
write to the President, Congress, and U.S. Navy.
James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning
historian of Princeton University, supports the Roundtable's efforts, saying:
"It would be most fitting to name one of the new submarines of the
Virginia class the U.S.S. Monitor, in honor of the original Monitor that
battled the first Virginia to a standstill in the world's first clash between
ironclad warships on March 9, 1862, and thereby ushered in a new era of naval
Harold Holzer, noted naval art historian,
said: "In her day, the Civil War ironclad U.S.S. Monitor revolutionized
naval technology - and, ultimately, naval warfare itself. It would be a
fitting tribute to her impact and her memory - as well as an apt
acknowledgment of America's continuing quest to defend freedom throughout the
world - if a new vessel could be named in the Monitor's honor. What better way
to demonstrate respect for our nation's history, and confidence in our
nation's future?" Holzer is also vice president of communications and
marketing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and co-chair of
the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and founding vice-president of the
William R. McGrath, naval historical artist,
said: "The original Monitor, designed by John Ericsson, propelled the
U.S. Navy into the modern era. No longer would wooded ships control the
destiny of nations. This ship revolutionized the design of warships for the
next 90 years. Clearly, we should honor the original Monitor and carry on our
naval heritage by naming one of our newest submarines after her."
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable, founded
in 1956, is one of the oldest such groups in the country. Its members range
from 17 to 94 years old, at every level of interest and historical expertise.
The Roundtable reflects the ethnic, racial, and religious diversity of
Greater Cleveland, but its common bond is the belief that the Civil War of
1861-1865 is the defining event of American history. The Roundtable honors
those who fought, suffered, and died to preserve the Union, uphold the
Constitution, and destroy slavery.
The Committee to Honor the U.S.S. Monitor was
established by the Roundtable in April of 2004. The original U.S.S. Monitor
was named by that brilliant, acerbic inventor, the Swedish-American engineer,
John Ericsson, who predict that she would "prove a severe monitor"
to the leaders of the Confederacy.
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