Two ladders in the turret led up to the roof. This was the favored
place of the ship's officers to gather whenever the vessel was under way. The
turret roof featured perforated plate, which permitted small amounts of
sunshine down into the cylinder. To keep out the rain and provide shade on hot
days, the turret bore an awning or canopy that looked something like a small
circus tent when erected. A wood mast mounted in the center of the turret and
stanchions along the edge supported the awning. If needed, crew members could
thread the stanchions with rope to form a safety line. They could also use this
line to hang canvas around the turret in foul weather.
When under way and in bad weather, the crew battened down all the
Monitor's deck hatches. The only access to the outside was from the
turret roof; crew dangled a removable iron ladder over the side of the turret
for the men to climb down to the deck.