|USS Roanoke as a Merrimack-class steam frigate, 1855|
With the Secretary's approval, Lenthall sent shipyards and ironworks in New York City plans to convert Roanoke into an ironclad monitor-type warship with three turrets. Lenthall's design called for the turrets to be armored with single iron plates each twenty-two feet long, 4 1/2-inches thick, and weighing four tons. Each turret housed either XV-inch Dahlghrens or a 150-pounder Parrott Rifle. If that was not enough firepower, Lenthall wanted a "huge axe" on the bow of the ship in order to ram.
|USS Roanoke underway in smooth seas as imagine by an artist.|
The conversion was a remarkable feat of American engineering. Iron forges in four different states provided the huge plates to the Novelty Iron Works in New York City. Each plate then had to be heated and bent to correct curvature. In all, workers placed 1,000 additional tons of armor.
|USS Roanoke tied up as she spent most of her career.|