USS Monocacy (c. 1890)

3 March 2023

Antietam survivor Martin J. Casey served through the war with Batteries A and B of the First Maryland Light Artillery and soon after, in 1866, enlisted in the US Navy. He served mostly on the Asiatic Station over nearly 25 years, on at least 8 ships, including this one.

She’s sidewheel gunboat USS Monocacy, pictured here in about 1890 “in Chinese waters.” She was named after the 1864 battle near Frederick, MD and was launched in Baltimore soon after it, in December 1864. She had an exceptionally long career in the Pacific, in continuous US Navy commission until sold to a Japanese firm in 1903.

Machinist Casey was scalded – presumably by steam from a burst boiler or line – while aboard Monocacy sometime in the 1870s and bore scars on his abdomen, left arm, and over his left eye afterward. He had a couple of tattoos also, of a dancing girl and a “naval emblem”.


More about USS Monocacy’s history is online from The Naval History and Heritage Command, source also of the photograph of the ship.

Casey’s service and details like his scarring and tattoos are from enlistment records in Returns of Enlistments of 13 April 1878 (Washington, DC) and 11 June 1887 (Mare Island, CA), online from fold3.

Please Leave a Reply