BAY CITY AND THE MONITOR
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 saved the Union fleets in Hampton Roads by crippling the dreaded Confederate ram MERRIMAC*, were funished 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 Chesebrough, a pioneer Bay City lumberman, early in the war, took a raft of lumber from this region through the Erie Canal to New York City. After casting about for purchasers, there sent for him a quiet man who explained that he was building an experimental vessel on new designs, that he wanted 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 in might not prove acceptable, and this fact he frankly explained to the Michigander.
Mr. Chesebrough was a keen businssman, but patriotic, and furthermore 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-works 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 of history.