Saturday, June 25, 2005

Damon Cooper's BLOG - Merrimack


Ha ha, Damon. Very funny.

In addition to the river in New England, Merrimack is also the name of one of the first ironside warships. It was actually re-christened the CSS Virginia when it had its famous engagement with the USS Monitor, but the name never really stuck.

March 8, 1862
The Merrimack is best known from the battle of Hampton Roads during the Civil War. It fought in a battle against 5 other ships, the USS Congress, the USS Cumberland, the USS Minnesota and the USS Monitor.

The Merrimack sank the USS Cumberland and then ran the USS Congress aground. She then proceeded to engage the US Minnesota which had been wounded in a previous battle. Unknonw to the captain of the Merrimack, the Monitor had been assigned to protect the Minnesota. A four and a half hour battle ensued between the two ironsides.

They fired everything they had at each other, shot, shell musket and rifle balls, grape and canister, unable to do any damage to each other.

Eventually, the Merrimack withdrew because of lowering tides. There was no pursuit.

The battle was so impressive that the Union and the Confederacy never built another wooden battleship. They had become instantly obsolete.

A few months after the battle, the Merrimack ran aground six miles from the famous battle. She was scuttled by her crew to prevent capture.

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