16-2 Early Years of the War

Merrimack vs. Monitor

The Confederates had salvaged a Union ship called the Merrimack that they rebuilt and then covered in iron plates, making it ironclad. It faced the Union ironclad ship, the Monitor. This was a major moment in history. This new naval technology made these ships unsinkable. Since these ships were covered in iron, they could not be penetrated by the bullets that flew back and forth. The Union feared that the Merrimack would be able to destroy all of the wooden ships that were blockading Southern ports. However, the Monitor was able to keep the Merrimack in its harbor, which prevented destruction of the Union fleet.