Information about the Battle Of Hampton Roads, a naval civil war battle of the American Civil War

Battle Of Hampton Roads Facts


March 8 – 9, 1862


Off Sewell’s Point, near Hampton Roads, Virginia


Union: Louis M. Goldsborough
Confederate: Franklin Buchanan




Union: 500
Confederate: 100

Important Events

Battle Of the Ironclads, Monitor vs. Merrimack

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Battle Of Hampton Roads summary: The Battle of Hampton Roads, aka the Battle of the Ironclads (Monitor and Merrimack), was fought March 8-9, 1862 near Hampton Roads, Virginia. It is the most famous naval battle of the American Civil War, pitting the nation’s first ironclad ships against each other.

No Roads In the Battle

The Battle of Hampton Roads was short and contrary to its name, not on any road at all. It was a battle fought on water by ironclad ships of war. On March 8, 1862 the CSS Virginia was commandeered by Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan to take on the USS Cumberland off the coast of Newport News, Virginia.

The USS Merrimack

The CSS Virginia used to be the USS Merrimack which a short time earlier had been raised from its resting place at the bottom of the Elizabeth River. Confederates, under the direction of W. P. Williamson, J. L. Porter and J. M. Brooke, had the USS Merrimack towed into a dock and promptly began restoration. Restoration included the addition of a ram of iron attached to the front of the ship. Ten guns of various sizes were also added as her armor.

The USS Monitor

Lt. John Worden commandeered the USS Monitor to deflect any offensive the Merrimack, now renamed CSS Virginia, directed toward them. Since the CSS Virginia already totally disabled the USS Cumberland, prospects of winning did not look good for the Union. However, the battle fields evened out by the lack of solid shot on the CSS Virginia and the addition of a cylindrical turret on the USS Monitor.

Without the advent of underestimating the forces of the foe on both sides, the outcome of the battle may have been decisive rather than inconclusive.