National Geographic : 1975 Jan
Finding the Monitor KNOWN: when the Monitor sank, how, and why. Unknown: exactly where. Over the years various theories had their champions; claims of dis covery were made, but none could be substantiated. The first successful search began not in the Atlantic, but amid a sea of historical documents. Based largely on navigational fixes from the log of Rhode Island, which had the ironclad in tow before she foundered, a rectangular search area (map, left) was established. In August 1973, Duke University's Eastward, loaded with detection gear, put to sea with two support boats of the U. S. Army Reserve's 824th Transportation Company. Using an advanced navigational system, the author (left) plotted a pre cise course over the search area. Near the northern limits, "fish-finder" so nar picked up something. Dr. Harold E. Edgerton of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology trained side scan sonar on the object and received back an image of almost photographic quality (below, right), one very like the ironclad. Actual photography proved trying. The strong current made it hard to control the still and television cameras cable-slung from Eastward (right). The still camera snagged in the wreck, and there it remains. Sweeping the stern, the television camera video taped critical details of the turret (be low). The white object is a compass suspended from the camera frame. After careful study, marine archeol ogist Gordon Watts concluded that Monitor had been found.