The double-turreted Monterey was the first monitor to be laid down for the new steel Navy of the 1880's. Built in San Francisco for service on the Pacific Station, she represented an effort to strengthen the force of armored ships in the Pacific. In 1887, when MONTEREY was authorized, MONADNOCK, then rebuilding, was the only potentially effective American armored vessel in the Pacific although CAMANCHE was still available.
The keel of this vessel was laid in 1889 at the Union Iron-Works, San Francisco, and it was put in commission February 13, 1893. Its late date of building enabled it to be constructed with all the recent improvements in naval architecture, and as a coast-defence vessel it is among the most powerful, of the new navy.
The Monterey differed little in dimensions from the other monitors, being two hundred and fifty-six feet in length, fifty-nine feet in breadth, and fourteen feet ten inches in draught, with a tonnage displacement of 4084 tons. In engine-power and speed, however, it surpasses them all, it being moved by twin screw, vertical, triple-expansion engines of 5244 horse-power, while its speed is 13.6 knots per hour. Its coal-carrying capacity is low, being but two hundred tons.
This boat is constructed entirely of steel, and is much more heavily armored than the other monitors, with the exception of the Puritan, the armor belt being composed of thirteen inches of steel amidships, which tapers to eight inches at the bow and six inches at the stern. To the protection afforded by this is added that of a double bottom and water-tight bulkheads, there being no less than one hundred and ten separate compartments within the vessel, each secure against the inflow of water.
Low barbettes protect the turning-gear and other apparatus of the two turrets, the forward barbette being protected by thirteen inches, the aft by eleven and one-half inches of steel armor. The turrets rising from these are armored, the forward with eight inches, the aft with seven and one-half inches of steel. The Monterey was built with the idea of doing her principal fighting head on, and is more strongly protected in front accordingly. The turrets are armed in view of the same contingency, the forward one carrying two 12-inch, and the rear one two lo-inch breech-loading rifled cannon. Her secondary battery is composed of six 6-pounder and four 1-pounder rapid-fire and two Catling guns, part of this secondary armament being carried on the deck of the superstructure between the turrets and part on the fighting-top of the military mast.
The other monitors named are fitted with horizontal or inclined engines, the limited space provided for them demanding great economy of area in placing these complicated pieces of machinery. The powerful engines of the Monterey, however, are vertical, their three cylinders being respectively of twenty-seven, forty-one, and sixty-four inches diameter and thirty inches stroke. They are supported by cast-steel inverted Y frames securely bolted to cast-steel bedplates, and, in common with the other machinery, have been made as light as possible. To attain this end coil boilers are used for the greater part of the power. There are two cylindrical boilers capable of propelling the vessel at ten knots speed, and which are used for ordinary purposes, the coil boilers being reserved for emergency cases, and enabling sufficient steam to be made in less than half an hour to give the vessel her maximum speed.
One of the design features of the Civil War CASCO class which added to their displacement problems reappeared in MONTEREY although in a much more refined and successful form. This feature was the provision of large water-ballast tanks which enabled her freeboard to be decreased by flooding prior to action. The actual cost of MONTEREY was $2,065,779.30.
She spent her early service years operating along the west coasts of North and South America. During the Spanish-American War, she was sent to the Philippines to reinforce U.S. forces there and participated in the final campaign against Manila. MONTEREY and MONADNOCK were the only two monitors to cross the Pacific. Both ships were sent to the Philippines to strengthen Dewey's fleet. however, they did not arrive until August of 1898, too late to participate in the Battle of Manila Bay. Following the 1898 war, Monterey was stationed in the Philippines and off China until November 1917, when she was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She decommissioned there in August 1921 and was sold the following year.
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