Recently promoted captain, John Lorimer Worden won a significant victory during his operations against Fort McAlister, Georgia. USS Montauk’s XV-inch shellgun destroyed the blockade runner, Rattlesnake, previously known as the raider CSS Nashville. On February 27, 1863, the ship’s destruction was welcome news to the war-weary North. Nevertheless, when the battle smoke cleared, Worden had an ominous report to present to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron’s commander, Rear Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont.
Worden had previously worked on Passaic–class monitors as an assistant to Brooklyn Navy Yard commandant Rear Admiral Francis Hoyt Gregory. This position and his captaincy of USS Montauk gave him the ability to recognize various problems with this class of monitors. Worden believed the Passaic class had these major issues: