Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes
Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862

by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes

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Overview

“Ironclad against ironclad, we maneuvered about the bay here and went at each other with mutual fierceness,” reported Chief Engineer Alban Stimers following that momentous engagement between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (ex USS Merrimack) in Hampton Roads, Sunday, March 9, 1862.

The day before, the Rebel ram had obliterated two powerful Union warships and was poised to destroy more. That night, the revolutionary—not to say bizarre—Monitor slipped into harbor after hurrying down from New York through fierce gales that almost sank her. These metal monstrosities dueled in the morning, pounding away for hours with little damage to either. Who won is still debated.

One Vermont reporter could hardly find words for Monitor: “It is in fact unlike anything that ever floated on Neptune’s bosom.” The little vessel became an icon of American industrial ingenuity and strength. She redefined the relationship between men and machines in war. But beforehand, many feared she would not float. Captain John L. Worden: “Here was an unknown, untried vessel…an iron coffin-like ship of which the gloomiest predictions were made.”

The CSS Virginia was a paradigm of Confederate strategy and execution—the brainchild of innovative, dedicated, and courageous men, but the victim of hurried design, untested technology, poor planning and coordination, and a dearth of critical resources. Nevertheless, she obsolesced the entire U.S Navy, threatened the strategically vital blockade, and disrupted General McClellan’s plans to take Richmond.

From flaming, bloody decks of sinking ships, to the dim confines of the first rotating armored turret, to the smoky depths of a Rebel gundeck—with shells screaming, clanging, booming, and splashing all around—to the office of a worried president with his cabinet peering down the Potomac for a Rebel monster, this dramatic story unfolds through the accounts of men who lived it in Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862 by Dwight Sturtevant Hughes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611215250
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Publication date: 03/18/2021
Series: Emerging Civil War Series
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 530,703
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Dwight Sturtevant Hughes writes and speaks on Civil War naval history (www.CivilWarNavyHistory.com). Lieutenant Commander Hughes graduated from the Naval Academy in 1967 and served twenty years aboard warships, on navy staffs, and with river forces in Vietnam. He holds an MA in Political Science and an MS in Information Systems Management. Dwight authored A Confederate Biography: The Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah (Naval Institute Press, 2015) and is a contributing author at the Emerging Civil War blog (www.emergingcivilwar.com).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

What's in a Name? x

Foreword Christopher Kolakowski xiii

Prologue xxi

Chapter 1 Prepare for Serious Work 1

Chapter 2 Sink Before Surrender 17

Chapter 3 It Strikes Me There's Something in It 31

Chapter 4 Not the Slightest Intention of Sinking 43

Chapter 5 A Matter of the First Necessity 57

Chapter 6 She Went Down with Colors Flying 71

Chapter 7 Don't Tell Me Ever Again About Fireworks 87

Chapter 8 The Most Frightened Man 103

Chapter 9 With Mutual Fierceness 111

Chapter 10 Nearly Every Shot Struck 123

Afterword: Different Fates, Different Ironclads John V. Quarstein 137

Appendix A Touring the Battle Site 145

Appendix B Civil War Ironclads John V. Quarstein Dwight Hughes 149

Appendix C The USS Monitor Center at The Mariners' Museum and Park 155

Order of Battle 160

Suggested Reading 162

About the Author 166

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