Back to Exhibition

The Engagement between the "Monitor" and "Merrimac"

Excerpt from "Action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, 9 March 1862"

The first battle between ironclad warships had ended in stalemate, a situation that lasted until Virginia's self-destruction two months later. However, the outcome of combat between armored equals, compared with the previous day's terrible mis-match, symbolized the triumph of industrial age warfare. The value of existing ships of the line and frigates was heavily discounted in popular and professional opinion. Ironclad construction programs, already underway in America and Europe, accelerated. The resulting armored warship competition would continue into the 1940s, some eight decades in the future.

Note: The CSS Virginia formerly USS Merrimack and persistently mis-identified in accounts of this battle by that name or as "Merrimac".

Source: "Action between USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, 9 March 1862:, Navy History & Heritage, department of the Navy

Link to the source:

Record Details

Title: The Engagement between the "Monitor" and "Merrimac"


Naval engagement on March 9th, 1862, at Hampton Roads, Va. between the federal frigate "Merrimac" and the union's "Monitor". After a four-hour battle, both ships were damaged, but each side claimed victory. The battle is notable as history's first duel between ironclad warships and as the beginning of a new era in naval warfare.

HMI Civil War 1

View full details.
Back to Exhibition