USS Nantucket was launched 6 December 1862 by Atlantic Iron Works, Boston, Massachusetts, and commissioned on 26 February 1863, Commander Donald M. Fairfax in command.
Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Nantucket participated in the attack on Confederate forts in Charleston Harbor 7 April 1863. Struck 51 times during the valiant but unsuccessful assault on the vital Southern port, the single-turreted monitor was repaired at Port Royal but returned to Charleston to support Army operations on Morris Island, engaging Fort Wagner 16, 17, 18 and 24 July. She captured British steamer Jupiter at sea on 15 September. She again challenged the Charleston Harbor forts 14 May 1864 and thereafter remained on blockade duty through the end of the Civil War.
Decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard 24 June 1865, she remained in ordinary there for a decade. Renamed Medusa on 15 June 1869, she resumed the name Nantucket 10 August 1869. Transferred to Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H. in 1875, Nantucket twice briefly recommissioned 29 July to 12 December 1882 and 16 June to 6 October 1884, and operated along the northern east coast. She lay in ordinary at New York until turned over to the North Carolina Naval Militia in 1895. During the Spanish-American War, Nantucket was stationed at Port Royal, South Carolina. She was sold for scrapping to Thomas Buller & Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 14 November 1900.
This article incorporates text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, a work in the public domain.