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Battle of Hampton Roads facts for kids

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The Monitor and the Merrimac (CSS Virginia), March 9th., 1862

The Battle of Hampton Roads was a naval battle of the American Civil War. It was fought on March 8 and 9, 1862 near Hampton Roads, Virginia. It was an important battle because it was the first combat between ironclad warships.

The Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia tried to break the Union navy blockade of Hampton Roads. The blockade prevented all commerce with Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia. On March 8, the Virginia sank and damaged several union battleships. On March 8, the Union ironclad USS Monitor arrived and fought the Virginia. The battle lasted for several hours. But neither ship could defeat the other. Both ships left the fight thinking they had won. But the Confederates failed to break the blockade.

Both ironclads were lost soon after the battle. When Norfolk fell in May 1862, the CSS Virginia was destroyed by its crew so it wouldn't be captured. The USS Monitor was lost in a storm near Cape Hatteras on December 31, 1862. Her wreck was found in 1974.

The Battle of Hampton Roads did not make a big difference in the outcome of the Civil War. But it changed the way people fought wars with ships. The battle proved that ironclad warships were much stronger than wooden ships. After this battle, the U.S. and other countries stopped building wooden ships. They started building iron warships instead.

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