USS Shiloh (1865)

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Name: USS Shiloh
Ordered: 24 June 1863
Builder: Charles W. McCordat, St. Louis, Missouri
Launched: 14 July 1865
Commissioned: 17 September 1874
Decommissioned: 5 October 1874
Fate: Sold, 1874
General characteristics
Class and type: Casco-class monitor
Displacement: 1,175 long tons (1,194 t)
Length: 225 ft (69 m)
Beam: 45 ft (14 m)
Draft: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Screw steamer
Speed: 9 knots (10 mph; 17 km/h)
Complement: 69 officers and enlisted
Armament: 2 × 11 in (280 mm) smoothbore Dahlgren guns
Armor: Turret: 8 in (200 mm)
Pilothouse: 10 in (250 mm)
Hull: 3 in (76 mm)
Deck: 3 in (76 mm)

USS Shiloh, a single-turreted, twin-screw monitor, was awarded for the construction on 24 June 1863 to George C. Bestor of Peoria, IL; and her keel was laid down later that year at the yard of Charles W. McCordat of St. Louis, MO. However, while Shiloh was still under construction, USS Chimo, one of the first of the Casco-class monitors to be launched, was found to be unseaworthy.

Design revisions

Though the original designs for the Casco-class monitors were drawn by John Ericsson, the final revision was created by Chief Engineer Alban C. Stimers following Rear Admiral Samuel F. Du Pont's failed bombardment of Fort Sumter in 1863. By the time that the plans were put before the Monitor Board in New York, NY, Ericsson and Simers had a poor relationship, also Chief of Naval Construction John Lenthall had little connection to the board. This resulted in the plans being approved and 20 vessels ordered without serious scrutiny of the new design. $14 million US was allocated for the construction of these vessels. It was discovered that Stimers had failed to compensate for the armor his revisions added to the original plan and this resulted in excessive stress on the wooden hull frames and a freeboard of only 3 inches. Stimers was removed from the control of the project and Ericsson was called in to undo the damage. He was forced to raise the hulls of the monitors under construction by 22 inches to make them sea-worthy.

On 25 June 1864, the Navy Department ordered Shiloh's builder to raise her deck to give her sufficient freeboard, then on 17 June 1865, after the end of the Civil War had prompted an American naval retrenchment, work on Shiloh was ordered suspended. Nevertheless, it was decided to proceed with her launching; and an unsuccessful attempt to get her off the ways was made on 3 July 1865. After much labor, the ship finally entered the water 11 days later.


Shiloh saw no service before being laid up in 1866 at Mound City, IL. On 15 June 1869, she was renamed USS Iris. In the same year, she was moved to New Orleans, LA and laid up there. On 17 September 1874, the monitor was commissioned; but she saw no significant service before she was decommissioned on 5 October 1874 and again laid up at New Orleans, LA on 15 October 1874. She was sold later that year.


This article includes text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.