Boatswain’s Mate John Stocking – Hero of the Monitor

Carte de Visite Portrait of Boatswain’s Mate John Stocking, “The Unsung Hero of the Monitor.” Stocking served with the Monitor during her historic engagement with the CSS Virginia, and was on board the ill-fated iron clad when she was being towed south by the USS Rhode Island. When the Monitor foundered during a storm, on the night of December 31, 1862, Stocking volunteered to go forward and attempt to cut through the heavy hawser connecting her to the Rhode Island. He was swept overboard and drowned, becoming one of the sixteen officers and men lost with the historic iron clad.
Source: auction

Click to enlarge


  1. John Stocking aka Wells Wentz born at Binghamton N.Y. Aug. 18, 1830
    (see book on internet Decendants of Johann Jost Wentz Google Books Result page 33) He was my 1st cousin 3 times removed or my greatgrandmother Frances Wentz’s first cousin on my mothers side.
    Robert Bissiri Santa Rosa Ca.

  2. John Stocking aka Well Wentz was born at Binghamton N.Y. Aug. 18, 1830 He is my 1st cousin 3 times removed or my greatgrandmother Frances Josephine Wentz’ s first cousin on my mothers side. Served on the Monitor during the battles of Hampton Roads, Drewery’s Bluff, Sewell’s Point and was lost at sea Dec. 31 1862


    1. Hi Greg,
      Was Francis Stocking and Lois Levin Stocking from Binghamton N.Y or Broome county N.Y? There was a Rev. Stocking living in Binghamton N.Y about 1850.
      next door to the uncle of Wells Wentz aka John Stocking

  4. FYI: Binghamton is in Broom County. John Stocking is “Wells Wentz” he is my 1st cousin 4x – 1880 book called Descendants of Johann Jost Wentz by Richard Willing Wentz references this as well as “The Monitor Boys” by John V. Quarstein.

    Wells Wentz, bom August 18th, 1830. This member
    of the family took a very active part in crushing the
    late rebellion. In the engagement between the iron-
    clads Merrimac and Monitor he stood at his post as
    gunner on the latter (under the nome de plume of
    John Stocking) until the Merrimac’ s batteries were
    silenced. He continued with the Monitor until her
    memorable fatal passage and wreck oflf Cape Hat-
    teras, where, faithful to his post, he shared with her
    the same watery grave.


    Wells Wentz went under the alias of John Stocking (a name he picked from a Reverend who lived in his town in Binghamton). This is well documented as far back as 1884 by his first cousin Richard Willing Wentz in the book “Descendants of Johann Jost Wentz”.

    He was also the Gunner Captain during the fight during the battle of Hampton Roads. There is a great book out called “The Monitor Boys” which depicts his role, explains the alias and so forth. It was confirmed by a first party witness that he was swept overboard while attempting to free the hawser (towline).

    Wells was the son of John “The Fife” Wentz who at age 70 along with his 10 yr old nephew Richard Willing Wentz playing drums, became the youngest and oldest to recruit soldiers and join the Civil War from the same family.

    I would like to confirm that is Wells Wentz’s picture and respectfully request the origin of this photo. Thank you!

  6. Wells Wentz used the alias of Rev John Stocking of Binghamton, N.Y. as was typical back then. It is historically documented in multiple sources as far back as 1884. He was my father’s 1st cousin (3x).

    Sources: (search inside book for Stocking and Wentz)


    On the right of the screen you will see
    “Identifying Human Remains from the USS Monitor”
    Click on that to see the video. Listen to Lisa’s presentation at the 16th minute.

  7. Wells Wentz aka John Stocking is my 1st cousin 5x’s removed, and I’m thrilled to see all of this information about him. Proud to be related to a Civil War hero.

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