Legendary first duel between ironclads.

Date: 9 March, 1862 (during the American Civil War)
Place: Hampton Roads, VA
Participants: The C.S.S. Virginia (aka the C.S.S. Merrimack) vs. the U.S.S. Monitor

The C.S.S. Virginia, upon wreaking havoc on the Union blockade on the Elizabeth river near Hampton Roads - sinking the Union's Cumberland and damaging the Congress, was confronted by the U.S.S. Monitor.

Both ironclads showcased innovative designs, the Merrimack a floating tank with cannon fixed on all sides; the Monitor almost completely submerged, with two cannon on a rotating turret. They pounded at one another throughout the day, but neither ship could significantly damage the other. However, the battle signified the end of wooden warships - lumbering frigates were now obsolete and the battleship was born.

The Virginia
Weight/length: two different stats recorded: 3,200 tons, 275 ft.; and 4,500 tons, 300 ft.
Firepower: Six 9-inch smoothbores and four rifled guns of 6- and 7-inch caliber.
Engines/Movement: Horizontal, back acting; two cylinders, 72 inches in diameter, 3 ft. stroke. It took 30 minutes to do a 360 degree turn.
Crew: 160 navy, 28 marines
Armor: 4 inches of iron over 22 inches of oak - a wooden skeleton.

The Monitor
Weight/length: 1,200 tons, 172 ft.
Firepower: Two 11-inch smoothbores in a revolving, 140-ton turret (powered by a separate steam engine) capable of a 360 degree turn.
Engines/Movement: Double trunk, cylinders (2 in 1 casting); 36 inches in diameter, 27 inch stroke. Significantly more maneuverable than its Confederate counterpart.
Crew: Aproximately 60-70 crewman
Armor: The turret was armored with eight inches of iron; the roof was protected by railroad iron; the deck was covered with two inches of iron; the sides (submerged) with five inches of iron.