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Hampton Roads

Monitor vs. Merrimack, Battle of the Ironclads

March 8 - 9, 1862

Hampton Roads, Virginia

On March 8, 1862, from her berth at Norfolk, the Confederate ironclad Virginia steamed into Hampton Roads where she sank Cumberland and ran Congress aground. On March 9, the Union ironclad Monitor having fortuitously arrived to do battle, initiated the first engagement of ironclads in history. The two ships fought each other to a standstill, but Virginia retired.
Learn More About This Battle
The Sinking of the USS Cumberland

The Battle of Hampton Roads: Then & Now

Naval historian and author Craig Symonds discusses the significance of the Battle of Hampton Roads and its impact upon naval history in this online interview.

USS Monitor

10 Facts about Hampton Roads

Did you know that the Battle of Hampton Roads was the bloodiest day in US naval history until Pearl Harbor? Learn this and other facts about Hampton Roads.


See photos and illustrations of the ships and men involved in the Battle of Hampton Roads

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Naval historian Dr. Craig Symonds describes the action between the ironclad CSS Virginia and the wooden warships of the Federal fleet in Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862.

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Recommended Reading

Decision at Sea Small Cover

"Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History"
by Craig Symonds

Buy »

Reign of Iron Book

"Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimack"
by James L. Nelson

Buy »

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