The Civil War monitors of the Miantonomoh class, although regarded asthe best of this type of warship by American naval officers, deteriorated
rapidly after the war. The wood armor backing and other timbers in theships' hulls suffered from dry rot and within the first ten years after thewar their combat value had become almost nil. Accordingly, in 1874-75Secretary of the Navy George Robeson decided to carry out extensive"repairs" on the ships. The repairs were so extensive involving theconstruction of new iron hulls as to result in entirely new ships. However,since the funds for new construction had not been appropriated by theCongress, Robeson maintained the fiction that the ships were actually stillthe Civil War monitors and so the names never dropped from the navy List. Anational scandal resulted when this and the fact that Robeson had beenpaying for the new ships with old came to light. But Robeson's actionsmarked the beginnings of the movement to reestablish the United States as astrong naval power. The Amphitrite's were begun in private yards and completed in navalshipyards, construction having been suspended for a time and progress slowthroughout. Monadnock was one of only two monitors to cross the Pacific,doing so in 1898.
|USS Monadnock under construction in 1892 - Theindented area running the length of the hull provided the supportfor the wood backing of the armor belt.|
The second Monadnock, an iron-hulled, twin-screw, double-turretedmonitor, was laid down by Phineas Burgess at the Continental Iron Works,Vallejo, Calif., in 1874; launched 19 September 1883; completed at MareIsland Navy Yard; and commissioned there 20 February 1896, Capt. George W.Sumner in command.
|USS Monadnock enroute from San Francisco to Manila in 1898 - Note the amount of water being taken over the main deck of the "new" monitor in a relatively slight sea.|
After fitting out served as a unit of the Pacific Squadron along thewest coast. During the next 2 years exercises and training cruises sent heralong the Pacific coast from Puget Sound to Baja California. After theoutbreak of war with Spain, she was ordered to join Dewey's fleet in thePhilippines. She departed San Francisco 23 June 1898, touched at Hawaiiearly in July, and reached Manila Bay 16 August. She operated on blockadeduty in the Manila-Marviles-Cavite area, with brief voyages to Hong Kong,until December 1899. On 26 December, she sailed for Hong Kong and for thenext 5 years cruised the rivers of China, particularly the Yangtze, andalong her coast to protect American interests. Between 27 January and 7October 1901, she stood almost continuous duty at the mouth of the Yangtzeprotecting the foreign settlement at Shanghai, operating similarly on fourother occasions: 6 December 1902 to 8 April 1903; 18 September 1903 to 10 March 1904; and 8 April 1904 to 28 November 1904.
On 3 February 1905 she returned to Cavite. Operating out of Olongapo,she remained in the Philippines, with two interruptions for brief visits toHong Kong, until decommissioned at Cavite 10 March 1909. Recommissioned in reserve 20 April 1911, she resumed operations out of Olangapo, until placed in full commission 31 January 1912 at Cavite. For the next 7 years she cruised with submarines, and towed targets. Decomissioning for the last time 24 March 1919, her name was struck from the Navy list 2 February 1923, and her hull was sold, on the Asiatic Station, 24 August 1923.
|When the "repair funds" scandle broke - and it became widely known that the new ships had been under construction for a extremely long time - some of the ships were "siezed" by force and moved to a Navy Yard to be completed. Here the Monadnock is being forcefully moved to Mare Island.|