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Conservators Bore Gun from Civil War Ironclad Ship

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Monitor Gun ConservationNEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA—The Daily Press reports that conservators at the Mariners’ Museum bored the barrel of one of the Dahlgren guns from the ironclad warship USS Monitor, which was launched by the Union Navy in 1862 and lost later that year in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The ship’s turret and its two Dahlgren guns, which measure 11 feet long and weigh nearly eight tons each, were recovered in 2002 and have been sitting in preservative solution. “We take years to prepare for [a few hours] of operation,” explained Will Hoffman, the museum’s director of conservation. Silt, coal, marine concretions, and other debris from the seafloor were slowly removed from the gun with a hollow drill bit that was custom-made to be slightly smaller than the gun’s 11-inch diameter. Conservators said that clearing the inside of the gun will allow them to extract salt from the gun’s interior. For more on the Monitor, go to "History's 10 Greatest Wrecks..."

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