On the 8th of March in 1862, a new era of Naval Warfare began with the emergence of a reconfigured Northern schooner christened "the Virginia". The age of the Ironclad Warships started with the sinking of the Federal ship the Cumberland.

The following day, the Ironclad ship "the Monitor" fought to a standstill with "the Virginia".

union flag

the War
the States

the Virginia &
the Monitor
9th March 1862

stars and bars


Thirty feet offshore of this point in Newport News on the Virginia Peninsula, the Confederate Ironclad Virginia sank the USS Cumberland (a thirty gun ship) on March 8th of 1862. Its sister ship, the USS Congress (a fifty gun ship) surrendered and was sunk by the Virginia. This was the first action of an Ironclad and marks the beginning of a new era in Naval Warfare.


This is a wonderful drawing by F. Newman depicting the sinking of the Cumberland. You might note that the text describes the Confederate Ironclad "Merrimac", which was a United States Schooner, not the Confederate Ironclad.


A mile and half offshore in Hampton Roads the Virginia and the Monitor fought the first engagement between Ironclads to a standstill.


The era of wooden ships was ushered to a close with the roar of cannon fire as a mile and half south of this point the Ironclads fought their first engagement.

Shiloh, Tennessee :
opening battle of the Corinth Campaign

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Frank Mazuca