JFK+50: Volume 6, No. 1813UNION IRONCLAD MONITOR SANK 153 YEARS AGO
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina (JFK+50) 153 years ago today, December 30, 1862, the Union ironclad U.S.S. Monitor* sank in a storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras.
Nine months earlier, the Monitor fought the Confederacy's Virginia in the Battle of the Ironclads off the coast of Hampton Roads, Virginia. That battle, which lasted four hours, ended with neither ship gaining an advantage or sustaining serious damage.
The Virginia, originally a Union frigate called the Merrimack that had been captured and converted to an ironclad by the Confederates, was a stark contrast to the Monitor, designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, which had a flat iron deck with a cylindrical turret in the middle. The Battle of the Ironclads ushered in a new era in naval warfare and signaled the beginning of the end of wooden warships.
Winston Churchill wrote...
"The combat of the Merrimack and the Monitor made the greatest change in the sea-fighting since cannon fire by gunpowder had been mounted on ships about 400 years before."