Ironclad Ships The Battle of Hampton Roads changed the course of naval history. This battle marked the first time that two ironclad warships engaged in ship to ship combat. However the USS Monitor and Popov and the Novgorod. These circular monitors were impossible to control and just drifted around (Greene 351-356). The civil wars in South America also saw widespread use of ironclad warships, especially in Chile and Brazil.

The revolutionaries of Peru purchased unfinished Confederate ironclads from England and used them in their war for independence against Spain (Greene 263-274). The use of ironclad warships predated the United States Civil War. In 1592 the Korean Admiral Yi-sun designed an W d @ K n w ? ) {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ & . % + ; B z , S ^ {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ ^ b j m u ) c k 4 * I {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ I Q W e m 7 ? h p {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ ! * : B f p {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ ? G ! $ * D Q : G T! ]! & & & %& {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ %& L& U& Z& c& & & ?’ &’ J’ W’ s’ {‘ h* w* + , , , – {w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{w{ c ? D) – – qqjjj““ ! ^ I %& – ] ^ ` a b – c Times New Roman p = / 8 = / 8 d uSu, u, T – 5 2 . .2 82 82 82 82 =/ 8 d 82 – t z3 82 J2 T The Battle of Hampton Roads changed the course of naval history. This battle marked the first time that two ironclad warships engaged in ship to ship combat. However the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia were not the first ironclad warships that were produced. The use of ironclad warships predated the United States Civil War.

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In 1592 the Korean Admiral Yi-sun designed and produced an ironclad warship to counter the large Japanese fleet that was attacking Korea. This ship was designed to repel the Japanese arrows and bullets that were fired at the ship. This ship played key roles in many major victories for the Korean Navy. Steam power was used in warships for the first time in 1850 by the French. The Napoleon was the first warship built with steam power used as its main power.

The British followed suit later that year with the HMS Agamemnon. Ship builders believed that steam power would provide enough energy to power ironclad warships. When the Crimean War began in 1853 the Allied navies (Britain and France) saw the need for ironclad warships. The French developed a steam powered ironclad battery. These batteries were little more than floating ships with cannons and iron armor. The armor was brittle and often shattered after two direct hits. The conditions on these batteries were poor and they only saw limited action.

The British developed similar batteries but they were only used in the Battle of Kinburn. The two navies began developing true ironclads after the Crimean war. The French produced the Gloire in 1858 and the British followed with the HMS Warrior. The Russians joined in with the Prevenetz in 1859. These were the first true ironclads (Greene 15-35). The beginning of the Civil War in the United States began concerted efforts by both sides to develop ironclad warships.

The Confederate States of America first saw the need for ironclad ships at the onset of hostilities in 1861. Stephen Mallory, the Secretary of the Confederate Navy, saw the need for a southern ironclad and ordered one to be built. The Union Navy had abandoned Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia on April 20, 1861, the day after Virginias order of secession. The major steam frigate USS Merrimack was scuttled and left behind. The Confederates immediately raised the sunken ship and renamed it CSS Virgina, this began its conversion to an ironclad (Gibbons 22).

On July 23 of that same year the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia began producing the 723 tons of iron plates for Virginia (Carter 17). The armor of the Virginia was four inches thick and eight inches wide. An iron ram was placed on the bow of the ship, this was installed to be used in ramming enemy ships. The engines of the USS Merrimack remained in the Virginia and were the main propulsion system for the Confederate ironclad. As the Virginia completed her sea trials she was deemed unseaworthy and therefore restricted to the bay and its immediate vicinity (Jones).

Northern spies had alerted the Union Secretary of the Navy of these developments in early August. This sparked the beginning of the Union ironclad program. A Swedish shipbuilder named John Ericsson volunteered to design an ironclad ship that would be put to sea within ten weeks of its keel being laid down. Two other companies began work on the ironclads New Ironsides and Galena but Ericssons Monitor was the only one with a realistic chance of being completed in time to counter the Virginia (Gibbons 24). Ericsson had been upset with the United States Navy (USN) since the explosion of one of his cannons on board the USS Princeton in 1844, the explosion killed the Secretary of the Navy.

Ericsson used a monitor design which was an iron hull with an ironplated turret on top that contained the cannons. The USS Monitor was completed on January 30, 1862, ten days past its deadline. It became known as a cheesebox on a raft (Johnston). The first engagement between two ironclad warships occurred at Hampton Roads, Virginia on March 9, 1862. On March 8 the Virginia steamed into Hampton Roads to engage the Union blockade squadron.

The Union force consisted of the frigates Cumberland and Congress. Virginia made a direct line to the Cumberland at top speed. As she approached Cumberland both ships fired but with no effect. Virginia rammed Cumberland and a moment later and Cumberland instantly broke up, burning. With the appearance of the Virginia the Union force requested additional assistance from the blockade. The commander of the blockade dispatched the frigates Minnesota, Roanoke, and St.

Lawrence. As these ships sailed to the scene the Virginia engaged the Congress. The Virginia was outgunned but pressed on as the shots glanced off of her iron armor. She raked the Congress with cannon fire and finally the ship st …