Mission Plan
Mission Plan


The Cannon Cat
The Cannon Cat




Recovering the Monitor’s revolving gun turret took an enormous amount of good timing, teamwork and technology. Click image for larger view.


Monitor Expedition

June 24 - late 2002

The 140-year-old USS Monitor gun turret was recovered from the bottom of NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary in August, during a 41-day expedition that brought the Civil War relic to the museum for further excavation and conservation. For current information, please visit the The Mariners’ Museum exit icon and sanctuary Web sites.

During last year's expedition, the Monitor's steam engine and a significant portion of its hull were recovered. Monitor Expedition 2002 was the final phase of a multi-year effort to recover the wreck of this famous Civil War ironclad, located 20 miles off the coast of North Carolina. The recovery operation was conducted by NOAA, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), exit icon Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU TWO) exit icon and The Mariners’ Museum.

Background information on the 2002 phase can be found on the left side of the page. During the mission, regular updates were posted below, and detailed logs and summaries of exploration activities were posted on the right.

Updates & Logs

Click images or links below for detailed mission logs and updates.

dec 10 logDec 10 Excavation of the turret is nearing completion. Read in today's log about the tremendous amount of coal recovered as archeaologists worked to clear the turret. Stay tuned for a mission summary.

Nov 15 LogNov 15 Students from a nearby university help archeaologists remove more of the sediment within the turret to reveal more artifacts. Read more in the log.

Nov 5 LogNov 5 Much of the sediment has been removed from the turret. Archeaologists continue to find artifacts. Read more in the log.

Oct 15 LogOct 15 More personal effects and a fully intact lantern were recovered from the turret. Read more in the log.

Oct 1 LogOct 1 Excavation of the Monitor's turret progresses. Read today's log for more details and to see a recovered boot.

Sept 25 logSept 25 Excavation of the Monitor's turret progresses. Read today's log to find out more about the artifacts being uncovered as workers carefully sift through mud and silt.

September 12 LogSept 12 The Monitor sanctuary manager explains that the human remains found in the turret are being carefully cared for in Hawaii. Read today's log.

August 30 LogAug 30 Excavation of the turret continues. Read about the artifacts and remains—human and otherwise—found in the turret so far in today's log.

August 23 LogAug 23 Excavation of the turret begins on August 26. Read how the Monitor team plans to expose the structural elements of the turret and recover other artifacts in today's log.

Aug 11 LogAug 11 Despite the absence of the turret, work continues at the Monitor wreck site. NOAA divers continue to look for artifacts and map and photographically document the wreck site amid strong currents. Read today's log

Aug 10 LogAug 10 The Monitor's turret ends its six-day journey to The Mariner's Museum in Newport News, VA, where it will rest in a conservation tank for the next 12 to 15 years. Read today's log.

Aug 9 LogAug 9 The Monitor's turret is welcomed home to Newport News, Va. A welcome ceremony draws more than 1,000 onlookers and VIPs. Read today's log for more details.

Aug 6 LogAug 6 EXCLUSIVE: The Monitor's turret was successfully recovered yesterday! Using a 500-ton crane, workers lifted the turret intact from the water and secured it on the deck of the Wotan barge. Read more about it here and stay tuned to this Web site and to the national news media for more information.

June 29 logAug 5 EXTRA: After finding and removing a nearly complete skeleton within the confines of the turret, Navy divers expect to lift the turret out of the water today, weather permitting. Consult your local and national media for up-to-the-minute coverage. And stay tuned here for more information and updates...

July 26 LogJuly 26 Special Report: Possible human remains are found inside the turret. Read about it in today's log.

July 25 LogJuly 25 Sections of the turret's roof are excavated and another historical mystery is partially solved. Read more in today's log.

July 24 Log July 24 A visitor to the Monitor Expedition 2002 site shares her experiences on the Wotan barge in today's log.

July 22 LogJuly 22 The platform on which the turret will rest once it is lifted was deployed today. Read about it in today's log.

July 20 LogJuly 20 NOAA conducts more submersible dives around the Monitor wreck to observe the progress of deploying the Spider. Read today's log.

July 17 LogJuly 17 The Navy's Chief Warrant Officer Rick Cavey describes the delicate procedure of deploying the Spider in today's log.

July 13 LogJuly 13 Divers are finding numerous artifacts around the exposed turret, including 140-year-old paper! Read about them in the log, and camera icon watch a video of a diver underwater.

July 12 LogJuly 12 Today, the team made a crucial discovery. Archeaologists and divers solve the mystery of whether the cannons are still inside the turret. Read the log, and see a camera icon video of the turret underwater.

July 10 LogJuly 10 The last few days have been characterized by long, hard work. Excavation of several layers of debris that sit atop the turret has been slow but steady. Foul weather pays a visit to the site once again. Read the log.

July 5 logJuly 5 The turret was exposed for the first time in 140 years today. Portions of the armor belt and hull resting atop the turret were removed. Read the log.

june 30 logJune 30 Stormy seas made diving difficult on Thursday and Friday. camera iconWatch a video of the waves crashing onto the Wotan. However, diving resumed on Saturday June 29, and Sunday June 30, when good weather returned. The first artifact of the expedition was brought up to the surface. Read the log.

June 26 LogJune 26 The first dive to the USS Monitor site occurred at 9:27am. On the surface, seas swelled 2 to 3 feet, but there was no current on the bottom. Visibility was more than 50 feet. Saturation diving begins this afternoon. Read the log.

johnson sea linkJune 25 The Wotan barge departed Norfolk, VA, with all expedition team members aboard. The barge reached Cape Hatteras at 0315 on June 26. Despite the early hour and total darkness, the crew began deploying the eight 20,000-pound anchors that will hold the barge in position over the Monitor site. The first submersible dives were conducted.


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