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The latest type of “iron sea-elephant” in 1864: the double-turreted monitor “Onondaga After having steadily planned and built monitors of increasing efficiency during the war, the Navy Department finally turned its attention to the production of a double-turreted ocean cruiser of this type. The “Onondaga” was one of the first to be completed. In the picture she is seen lying in the James River. There, near Howlett's, she had steamed into her first action, June 21, 1864, with other Federal vessels engaging Battery Dantzler, the ram “Virginia,” and the other Confederate vessels that were guarding Richmond. The “Onondaga” continued to participate in the closing operations of the navy on the James. Of this class of double-turreted monitors the “Monadnock” and the “Miantonomoh” startled the world after the war was over. Foreign and domestic skeptics maintained that Gustavus Vasa Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, who had earnestly advocated the construction of monitors while the type was still an experiment, had merely succeeded in adding so many “iron coffins” to the navy. It was asserted that no monitor would prove seaworthy in heavy weather, to say nothing of being able to cross the ocean. In the spring of 1866, therefore, the Navy Department determined to despatch the “Miantonomoh” across the Atlantic; and, to show his faith in the “iron coffins” he had advocated, Assistant Secretary Fox embarked on her at St. John, N. B., on June 5th. Meanwhile the “Monadnock” had been despatched around the Horn to San Francisco; her progress was watched with far greater enthusiasm than that of the “Oregon” during the Spanish War. The “Miantonomoh” reached Queenstown in safety, after a passage of ten days and eighteen hours, and about the same time the “Monadnock” arrived at her destination, thus proving beyond cavil both the speed and seaworthiness of the American monitor.

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