Originally designed as a double-turreted ironclad monitor the plans were altered to the specifications of John Ericsson, Puritan’s builder, following a long debate with the Navy; she was built with a single turret. Contracted 28 July 1862 to Ericsson, who in turn subcontracted the hull to Continental Iron Works of Greenpoint, New York, and the machinery to Allaire Works of New York City, she was launched 2 July 1864. However, due to delays in construction and the casting of the 15-inch smoothbores she was never completed, her construction being suspended in 1865.
During the years following the war, Puritan along with several other monitors suffered extensive deterioration with their combat value likewise decreasing. In 1874–75 Secretary of the Navy George Robeson decided to carry out extensive repairs on Puritan and four monitors of the Miantonomoh class. Funds were not appropriated for new construction, but the condition of the ship’s hulls particularly, necessitated building essentially new ships, bearing no real resemblance to the originals. A scandal resulted when the fact came to light that Robeson was paying for new ships with the old ones. As a result, the first Puritan was turned over to John Roach of Chester, Pa. as partial payment for the “unauthorized” construction of the second Puritan: the name was not changed on the Navy List due to belief that the “repaired” vessel was still the Civil War monitor.
This article incorporates text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, a work in the public domain.