An introduction to the hampton roads the battle of the ironclads

Once within range of each other, the two ships opened fire on one another. After two days of pounding, battle was declared a tactical stalemate and the ships withdrew without either suffering much damage. It was the first time iron ships clashed in naval warfare and signaled the beginning of the end of the era of wooden warships. It can be said that these two iron warships were the predecessors to the battleship.

An introduction to the hampton roads the battle of the ironclads

And it was here that the revolutionary USS Monitor, with its armored rotating turret would first enter combat. We hope that these ten interesting facts will help expand your knowledge and appreciation of this important Civil War naval battle.


Library of Congress Fact 1: The CSS Virginia and USS Monitor were not the first ironclad warships, but they were the first ironclads to battle against one another The Virginia and the Monitor were not the first ironclad warships. In Novemberthe French navy had launched La Glorie, the first ironclad battleship.

To support Union naval operations on the rivers in the western theater, ironclad river gunboats City Class gunboats had been built, launched, and deployed by January These gunboats played an important role in the battles for Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February of The Confederacy had great difficulty in sourcing the iron plating needed for the Virginia In October of it was determined that the Virginia the converted ex-USS Merrimack would require two layers of two inch iron armor plate covering its entire casement.

Requiring upwards of tons of iron, there simply was not that much iron available. The delays in obtaining and shaping these iron plates gave the Union more time to construct their counters to the growing menace of the Virginia.

The March 8, battle that pitted the Virginia against wooden US Naval vessels was the worst defeat in the history of the United States Navy until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor While much attention has been focused on the near bloodless duel between the Monitor and Virginia on March 9,the action between the Virginia and the US Navy on the preceding day was a far bloodier affair.

The CSS Virginia, on the other hand, suffered just two killed and a dozen wounded in its fight with the Union navy.

An introduction to the hampton roads the battle of the ironclads

Over the two day battle, the Federal navy suffered killed and wounded in its struggle with the Virginia — more killed and wounded than any other sea battle in American history at that time. And March 8, would remain the bloodiest day in American naval history until December 7,when the Japanese navy struck the American fleet at Pearl Harbor.

The Virginia steamed straight for the Cumberland and punched through its starboard bow with its mighty ram. With its ram stuck fast inside the Cumberland, the Virginia risked be carried under by the sinking Federal ship. After some effort the Virginia was able to separate and back away, but is lethal ram had broken free.

During its battle with the USS Monitor the next day, the Virginia sought to employ its ram, not knowing that this weapon now lay at the bottom of Hampton Roads.

Unfortunately for the Confederates, Union soldiers on shore nearby knew or cared little for naval tradition and fired upon the exposed officers and men. Franklin Buchanan, who had gone on deck to supervise this surrender, was struck in the upper thigh by a bullet and was hastily taken back into the interior of the Virginia.

Removed to shore that evening, Buchanan turned over command of the Virginia to his executive officer, Lieutenant Catesby ap Roger Jones who would command the famous ironclad during its fight with the Monitor the next day. During that battle, Buchanan would suffer a broken leg and would surrender with his ship on August 5, The Battle of Hampton Roads, often referred to as either the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack (or Virginia) or the Battle of Ironclads, was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies.

The 'clash of the ironclads' happened during the Battle of Hampton Roads in Virginia where three rivers come together in the Chesapeake Bay. It was the first fight between two ironclad ships.

American Civil War Battle of the Ironclads: Monitor and Merrimack. Most historians call it the Battle of Hampton Roads because it took place in a body of water called Hampton Roads in Virginia.

An introduction to the hampton roads the battle of the ironclads

However, the battle was fought between two famous ironclad ships called the Monitor and the Merrimack. As a result, the battle is . ‘The Monitor and Merrimac: The First Fight Between Ironclads” Chromolithograph of the Battle of Hampton Roads Produced by Louis Prang & Co., Boston, Public Domain.

In accordance with the standard Osprey Campaign format, Hampton Roads begins with a brief introduction and chronology, followed by sections on opposing leaders and forces. The leaders section covers the secretary of the navy, ironclad designers and vessel commanders for both the Federal and Confederate sides.

The Battle of Hampton Roads, often called the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack marks the first meeting in naval combat of “ironclad” or iron plated war ships. In just over 3 hours this battle redefined global naval tactics.

Battle of Hampton Roads - Wikipedia