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Lincoln's Secret Weapon Diagram of Monitor QTVR instructions

Intro | Galley | Deck | Canopy | Wardroom | Officer's Cabin | Captain's Cabin | Captain's Stateroom | Turret | Pilothouse | Chain Locker | Berth Deck | Engine Room - Forward | Engine Room - Aft

The armored pilothouse was approximately four feet by five feet and rose four feet above the deck. It consisted of thick iron logs bolted to oak beams below the armored deck. Quarter-inch gaps between the logs offered the only view out. Inside, the pilothouse was a cramped 45-by-35-inch space, not including the area consumed by the Monitor's wheel. From here the quartermaster steered the vessel while the pilot watched the waters; the Monitor's captain also crowded into the pilothouse when the vessel was under way.

The Monitor's navigation equipment remains a mystery. A historical reference discusses 'adjustments' to the ship's compass, but the effect of the Monitor's iron mass on a small magnetic compass would have been tremendous.

During the ironclad's famous battle with the CSS Virginia on March 8, 1862, a well-placed shot from the Confederate ironclad's stern gun landed squarely on the Monitor's pilothouse. Captain John L. Worden happened to be peering through the view slit where the shell hit. The impact blinded him, though he would later recover sight in his right eye. Workers later repaired and modified the pilothouse by adding angled sides around it. This is the configuration seen in photographs of the ship.

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