Friday, January 24, 2020

Naval Battles :: essays research papers fc

The battle on March 9, 1862, between the USS Monitor and the CSS Merrimack, officially the CSS Virginia, is one of the most revolutionary naval battles in world history. Up until that point, all battles had been waged between wooden ships. This was the first battle in maritime history that two ironclad ships waged war. The USS Merrimack was a Union frigate throughout most of its existence, up until the Union Navy abandoned the Norfolk Naval Yard. To prevent the Confederate Navy from using her against them, the Union Navy scuttled her. The Confederates, however, raised the ship from the shallow floor of the ocean and began making some major modifications. Confederate engineers cut the hull down to the water line and built a slanted top on it. Then, they bolted four layers of iron sheets, each two inches thick, to the entire structure. Also added was a huge battering ram to the bow of the ship to be used in ramming maneuvers. The ship was then fitted with ten twelve-pound cannons. Ther e were four guns placed on the starboard and port sides, and one on the bow and stern sides. Due to its massive nature the ship's draft was enormous, it stretched twenty-two feet to the bottom. The ship was so slow and long, that it required a turning radius of about one mile. Likened to a "floating barn roof (DesJardien 2)" and not predicted to float, the only individual willing to take command of the ship was Captain Franklin Buchanan. After all the modifications were complete, the ship was rechristened the CSS Virginia, but the original name the CSS Merrimack is the preferred name. The USS Monitor was the creation of Swedish-American engineer, John Ericsson. The ship was considered small for a warship, only 172 feet long and 42 feet wide. Confederate sailors were baffled by the ship. One was quoted describing her as ". . . a craft such as the eyes of a seaman never looked upon before, an immense shingle floating on the water with a giant cheese box rising from its center" (Ward 101). The "cheese box" was a nine by twenty foot revolving turret with two massive guns inside. "The USS Monitor used two of the eleven inch Dahlgran guns . . ." (Lavy 2). These Dahlgran guns were massive rifled cannons that were capable of firing a variety of shot.

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