Single‑turreted monitor Montauk was built by John Ericsson at Continental Iron Works, Greenpoint, New York, launched October 9, 1862, and commissioned at New York December 14, 1862. Her first commanding officer was Commander John L. Worden, who had previously commanded USS Monitor at Hampton Roads.
A principal ironclad in the naval attack on Charleston, Montauk departed New York December 24, 1862, arriving at Port Royal January 19, 1863 to join the South Atlantic' Blockading Squadron under Rear Admiral Samuel Du Pont. Taking advantage of the opportunity to test the ironclads on January 27, Du Pont sent Montauk, Seneca, Wissahickon, Dawn and C. P. Wiliiams to bombard Fort McAlister, Georgia. Although hit 13 or 14 times, Montauk was undamaged. The ironclads made a second attack on February 1, badly battering the fort; but Montauk was hit 48 times. She destroyed the blockade runner Rattlesnake on February 28 in Ogeechee River but was herself damaged by a torpedo (mine) which exploded under her.
Montauk steamed into North Edison River 1 April in preparation for the attack on Charleston. At midafternoon on the 7th, Admiral Du Pont’s ironclads attacked Fort Sumter. The Union ships braved intense fire from Confederates coast artillery, and kept their own guns operating effectively until withdrawing toward evening. Damage to the monitors prevented Du Pont from resuming the attack the next day.
The ironclads launched an attack on Fort Wagner, Morris Island 10 July. Gaining of this island was important as success would permit access to the interior defenses of Charleston Harbor. Assuming command of the naval forces, Rear Admiral John Dahlgren boarded Montauk on July 16 and after consultation with the captains, renewed the attack on Fort Wagner and bombarded it daily until it was evacuated by the Confederates on September 6. The ships then turned their attention to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie operating for the rest of the year against these fortifications which guarded the Cradle of the Rebellion. However, the Confederate works were never to be taken by sea.
Montauk remained off Charleston until July 1864 when she shifted operations to the Stono River. In February 1865, she transferred to the Cape Fear River. Proceeding to Washington after the end of the conflict, she served as a floating bier for the body of assassin John Wilkes Booth on April 27, and as a floating prison for several of Booth's accomplices in the Lincoln assassination.
Decommissioning at war's end in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1865, she remained there until sold to Frank Samuel for scrapping on April 14, 1904.
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