ACW Types - Pg 1
|First of all, on this page, we include a potted history of the 'battle of the ironclads' and of the two vessels which played prominent roles.
The transformed Merrimac, renamed CSS Virginia, was sheathed with nearly 800 tons of 1 and 2 inch thick iron plate hammered onto her 2-inch casemate of oak and pine. A 2,500-pound iron ram was added to the prow, 2 feet underwater. Now approaching 4,000 tons and top heavy, manoeuverability was a problem. Nevertheless, she was devastating and on March 8, 1862, Hampton Roads, sank two frigates, damaged other Union vessels, and caused heavy loss of life.
With a draft of 10feet, she moved well, particularly in shallow rivers. Her unusual design allowed the sea to wash freely over the deck, minimising roll.
The Historic Battle of the
Of immediate note, the Federal blockade was preserved; but the battle kept Union General George McClellan's invading army from using the James River in its march up the Virginia peninsula to Richmond.
Of far-reaching import, the battle signalled that the era of wood and sail had ended, and the age of iron and steam had begun. Wooden ships driven by sail were on their way out; steam-propelled, steel-hulled warships would become the navies of the future.
ACW Types, Pg 2 (forward)