Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable

Civil War Education, Remembrance and Preservation

THE NAVAL WAR

The Battle of Hampton Roads was fought on March 9, 1862 between the CSN Virginia (USS Merrimac) and the USS Monitor. It was the first combat between ironclads. On the previous day, the Virginia had a field day against the "Wooden Wall" which was unprepared. It sunk the USS Cumberland killing 121 or about a third of the crew. It also set fire to the USS Congress which surrendered and later exploded killing 240 or nearly half its complement. It also left the USS Minnesota aground in an ebbing tide.

On the evening of March 8th, the Monitor steamed into Hampton Roads and too a position to protect the Minnesota. The raging battle lasted for four hours as the ironclads maneuvered to seize advantage even colliding or brushing against one another. The Monitor was struck 21 or 22 times, mostly on the turret, but sustained little damage. The Virginia had most of its extremities blown away. Finally, when the captain of the Monitor, who was in the pilot house, was blinded by an exploding shell, the Monitor withdrew and the Virginia returned to port.

NAVIGATION
Iron vs. Iron
Monitor Construction
Officers of the Monitor
Conserving the Monitor
Reading the Monitor