Merrimack and Monitor

Jennifer Su, Taddie Cook


On March 9, 1862 at Hampton Roads, Virginia, there was a naval battle between the CSS Merrimack, renamed the Virginia, and the USS Monitor. The CSS Merrimack was a Confederate ship while the USS Monitor was a Union ship. The battle started on March 8th with CSS Merrimack destroying two Union warships, Congress and Cumberland. The Union ironclad ship, USS Monitor, arrived the next morning. During the battle, supporters watched from the shore and decks of other ships. Both of the ships lacked training, especially with the new ironclad technology, so they were ineffective - the Monitor only fired every 7 or 8 minutes. Ultimately, the Monitor was hit in the pilothouse and The Virginia had low ammunition, a leak in the bow, and difficulty with steam. This was decided as an indecisive battle but is generally remembered as a Monitor victory.


This battle between the USS Monitor and CSS Merrimack was the first ever battle between two ironclad ships; before this, all the battles ever fought were in wooden ships. The development of creating ironclad ships was considered a great advancement of naval technology. Thus, convincing the industrialized Union to start manufacturing stronger, more powerfully built ironclad ships. This incident also incited other masterminds to improve future naval technology leading to an increase of warship inventions. After this initial battle between the North and the South, many other future battles contained ironclad ships.

Civil War Ironclads
This is a short clip from the documentary "Ironclads" describing the Merrimack and the creation of the Monitor ship. It also narrates the battle.
Battle of the Ironclads

This video uses self-drawn images and animations to describe the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack.


Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <;h46248.jpg/300px-USS_Merrimack;h46248.jpg>.

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"Civil War Naval Actions - Action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia." Civil War Naval Actions - Action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. <>.

"Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack (American Civil War)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 July 2014. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

"Monitor." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.


"USS Merrimack." USS Merrimack. Wikipedia. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.