TWO FAMOUS SHIPS WERE BUILT IN 1862:  THE USS MONITOR AND THE CSS VIRGINIA (MERRIMACK)

 

The Tredegar Iron Works is a historic iron works plant in Richmond. It produced iron plating for the first Confederate ironclad warship, the CSS Virginia.  Picture by Alan Gardner, 1865

         THE MONITOR AND THE VIRGINIA

These two ships were odd looking and rough around the edges.  One was actually a wooden ship that was stripped down and rebuilt as the First Ironclad.  The second was the results of invention by John Ericcson and built new from scratch.  It is amazing that these ironclads could even float.  Many men, in authority over the navies were skeptical.  Old captains and admirals were not for change from the age of sail ships.  The development of the steam ship in the previous decade dictated that the new technology of steam driven should be encouraged.  With the need for a ship that could deflect the cannon balls and shells of the high power artillery from wooden ships and land units, the thick iron sheets would make it all possible. 

       The only weapon that could harm an ironclad was the newly invented torpedo or mine.  John Ericcson was hired to build a full scale version of his monitor.  President Lincoln was very interested in the new ironclad technology.  Ericcson even invented a two-gun ship with a rotating turret.  The last part of the story of the invention and building of the ironclads would be the first battle between the Monitor and the Virginia.  It ended up a virtual tie with neither able to sink the other.  Visit these sites to learn of about the first "Ironclad ships that changed history for all navies."

A GREAT CONVERSION

The new and powerful U.S.S. Merrimack in 1855. The hull and steams engines were converted to an ironclad by the Confederate Navy

       USS Merrimack, also improperly Merrimac, was a steam frigate, best known as the hull upon which the ironclad warship CSS Virginia was constructed during the American Civil War. The CSS Virginia then took part in the Battle of Hampton Roads (also known as "the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack ") in the first engagement between ironclad warships.

Building of the U.S.S. Monitor

YOUR ORDERS

Building of the C.S.S. Virginia (Merimack)