Chestertown, MD, September 27, 2002 — Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and Sultana Projects, Inc., present THE RACE TO SAVE THE MONITOR, a maritime history lecture by John Broadwater, Ph.D., Manager of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. The lecture will be held Thursday, October 10, 2002, at 7:30 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
The Civil War brought many advances in weaponry, including naval technology, and the U.S.S. Monitor represented a radical departure from traditional warship design. Powered by steam alone and constructed almost exclusively of iron, the ship's novel low-profile design, heavy armor and revolving gun turret set the stage for modern naval warfare. With the exception of her famous engagement with the Confederate ironclad Virginia at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the Monitor's brief career was uneventful, and shortly after midnight on December 31, 1862, the Monitor sank in a gale off Cape Hatteras, lost at sea less than a year after her launch. But the Monitor did not fail to impress ship designers and naval personnel around the world: the U.S. Navy built more than 60 Monitor-type vessels during the Civil War, and similar ships were built in other countries.
Dr. Broadwater is the Chief Scientist of the Monitor Expedition 2002 and has been the Manager of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary since 1992. A diver since 1969, Dr. Broadwater has participated in shipwreck dives and investigations throughout the United States and in more than a dozen countries. He also volunteered his services as an archaeologist for expeditions to the Monitor in 1974, 1979 and 1983. Between 1978 and 1989, as Senior Underwater Archaeologist of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, he directed the Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeological Project, which culminated with the complete excavation of a British ship sunk during the last major battle of the American Revolution. A well-known author and lecturer, Dr. Broadwater wrote “Secrets of a Yorktown Shipwreck” for the June 1988 issue of National Geographic, and the book Kwajalein, Lagoon of Found Ships, which chronicles shipwreck investigations in the Marshall Islands. On August 5 of this year, under his direction, the Monitor Expedition successfully raised the ship's unique 160-ton turret from 240 feet of water off of Cape Hatteras. The turret is now submerged in a special tank at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA, in order to slow its decay and to allow special research and preservation measures. Dr. Broadwater's lecture will describe the efforts being taken and what remains to be done to save and to preserve the historic Monitor.
Dr. Broadwater's lecture is the third in a four-part Maritime Lecture Series sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience in partnership with Sultana Projects, an organization that provides unique, hands-on educational experiences in colonial history and environmental science on board Chestertown's reproduction 18th Century Schooner Sultana. The series will conclude November 7, 2002, with a lecture by Lisa Norling, author of Captain Ahab Had a Wife: New England Women and the Whalefishery, 1720-1870, discussing the role of women in the American whaling industry. Look for coming announcements or contact Kees deMooy, Program Manager for the C.V. Starr Center, at 410-810-7156, or visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu for a complete program of events.