Confederate Ironclad vs. Union Ironclad: Hampton Roads 1862
by Ron Field, Osprey, 2008, $17.95
Osprey’s “Duel” series pits notable opposing forces in military history against each other. The focus here is on the well-known May 1862 clash between the nimble USS Monitor and the lumbering CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads, Va.
The book offers few surprises. It covers the vessels’ development, the strategic situation that brought on their meeting at Hampton Roads, and a look at the battle and its after math.
The “Further Development” section traces the successors of both combatants, but is a lost opportunity. An expanded treatment of other ironclads and their successes or failures might have helped the author’s appraisal of the overall worth of the ships that helped to change the face of naval warfare.
Originally published in the May 2009 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here.