Monday, March 12, 2012

The Battle of Hampton Roads

From 19th Century History:

The Battle of Hampton Roads

By , Guide   March 5, 2012
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This week marks the 150th anniversary of a significant milestone in naval history, the day when two Civil War ironclads faced off for the first time.
The peculiar ships, the USS Monitor, and the CSS Virginia, which the Confederates had improvised on the hull of the wrecked steam frigate USS Merrimac, battled on March 9, 1862.
At Hampton Roads, Virginia, they maneuvered about awkwardly, blasting away and lobbing heavy cannonballs at each other for hours. But thanks to their clever designs, and thick layers of armor plating, the heavy projectiles bounced off.
Neither ship would still be afloat by the end of 1862, yet they had proven that wooden warships were suddenly obsolete.
The Monitor would sink in a mid-winter storm, and itsturret was raised from the ocean floor in 2002. Some human remains were found within the turret, and news stories about research on the discovered bones appeared within the past few days.
The Mariners Museum in Newport News, Virginia, is restoring parts of the ship at the USS Monitor Center.
Illustration: USS Monitor/Library of Congress
Vintage Images: USS Monitor

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