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Events and battles

Monitor and Merrimac

Although most Civil War battles were fought on land, some battles were fought at sea. One of the most important sea battles was between the Monitor, a Union warship, and a Confederate warship, the Merrimac. Both of these were called iron-clad ships because they were wooden ships covered in metal armor. The armor protected the warships as they rammed wooden ships to sink them. These two famous iron-clads met in battle on March 9, 1862, in Norfolk Harbor near Hampton Roads, Va.

The Merrimac (also called the C.S.S. Virginia) was launched with the mission to break through the Union blockade in Virginia waters. During its attack, it was able to sink two ships and fire on many others. But the next day the Monitor, the Union iron-clad, arrived and the two armored ships fought in the harbor. Neither ship was able to sink the other, and the battle was fought to a draw. Wooden ships were no longer safe from these new iron-clads.

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