|“Al fresco” cooking on the famous “monitor” This is the deck of the original “Monitor,” with part of the crew that had participated in the fight in Hampton Roads. The savory smoke is blowing away from the fire, where the ship's cook is preparing the mid-day meal. The crew are awaiting the mess-call, and in the foreground are seated two of the fire-room force. There was one thing that the men on the monitors had a right to complain of: it was the intense heat generated between decks after a day's exposure to the sun. It was difficult to obtain proper ventilation in this class of vessel at the best. The wooden ships, with their high top sides, their hanging “wind sails” or canvas ventilators, and their ranges of open ports, admitted the free passage of the air; but in the iron-decked monitors, whose metal plating often got so hot that it was almost scorching to the feet, the fire-rooms, the galley, and the men's sleeping-quarters became almost unbearable. In still water, while on blockading duty, it became customary for the ship's cook to prepare the men's messes up on deck, and for this purpose stoves were erected that could be easily taken below in time of action, and the men took their meals al fresco in the open air. The crew of the “Monitor” were picked men, in a sense, for they were all old sailors who had volunteered for the unknown work that lay before them. Their devotion to the officers who had brought them so successfully through the famous engagement was little short of worship; it is sad to think that most of these men went down with their vessel when she foundered in the storm off Hatteras a few weeks after this picture was taken.|
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