Monitor and Merrimack, Battle of the
(March 9, 1862) Naval engagement in the American Civil War at Hampton Roads, Va. The Merrimack, originally a federal frigate, had been salvaged by the Confederates, fitted with iron armor, and renamed the Virginia. It sank several wooden Union warships before meeting the Union's Monitor. After a four-hour battle, both ships were damaged, but each side claimed victory. Both ships were destroyed later in 1862, the Virginia by its crew to avoid capture and the Monitor in a storm. The battle is notable as history's first duel between ironclad warships and as the beginning of a new era in naval warfare.
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