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Bay City and the Iron-clad Monitor (1902)
Timber supplied Alonzo Chesbrough of Bay City used for frame of the Monitor.
  • Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx (May 2005)
  • The Bay City Tribune - June 6, 1902


    Timber From This Region Used in Famous Ironclad.

    Pioneer Lumberman Rafted It to New York.

    How many are there in Bay City who know that the timbers for the frame of the famous Monitor, the iron-clad craft that save the Union fleets in Hampton Roads by crippling the dreaded Confederate ram Merrimac, were furnished by a Bay City lumberman and came from forests tributary to this city? But they did, and Michigan material formed a large item in the turreted vessel which revolutionized naval warfare by ringing out the day of wooden warships and becoming the pioneer of the great steel fleets of today.

    Alonzo Chesbrough, a pioneer Bay City lumberman, early in the war took a raft of timber from this region through the Erie canal to New York city. After casting about for purchases, there sent for him a quiet man who explained that he was building an experimental vessel on new designs, that he wanted the timber for its frame, but that he could not pay for the timber until he completed the vessel and it was accepted by the government. There was even a possibility it might not prove acceptable, and this fact he frankly explained to the Michigander.

    Mr. Chesbrough was a keen businessman, but patriotic, and further-more was impressed by the personality of the man who talked to him, none other than John Ericsson, the world famous Swedish-American inventor. He told him promptly he could have the timber, and it was at once taken to the yards and used in the timber-work of the Monitor.

    Later the Monitor proved acceptable to the government and to the loyal millions of the north, attracted the attention of naval architects and governments throughout the world, and became the creator of iron-clad fleets.

    Bay City can claim some credit for its exploits, and should be proud of the fact that its enterprising citizen and timber from its territory contributed to one of the greatest victories of the war and one of the noted events in history.

    Related References

    Illustration of Monitor.
    Harper's Weekly Mar. 22, 1862.
    (Click to enlarge)

    Related Pages:
    *Bay Co. Civil War History
    *Chesbrough, Alonso
    People Referenced
    Chesbrough, Alonzo
    Ericsson, John
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City
    Erie canal
    Hampton Roads
    Ironclad Monitor
    New York city
    Union fleets
    Relate Internet Sources
    [-] Maritime Museum:
    The Revolutionary Union Ironclad Monitor.
    [-] NOAA.gov
    Preserving the USS Monitor.
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.