Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History
Historian Richard Snow brings to lifelike life the tensions of the time, explaining how wooden and ironclad ships worked, maneuvered, battled, and sank. This full account of the Merrimack and Monitor has never been told in such immediate, compelling detail. The USA got word of the project when it was already well along, and, in desperation, commissioned an eccentric inventor named John Ericsson to build the Monitor, an entirely revolutionary iron warship—at the time, the single most complicated machine ever made.
When she returned, the Monitor was there. The ship hurried south from Brooklyn (and nearly sank twice on the voyage), only to arrive to find the Merrimack had arrived blazing that morning, destroyed half the Union fleet, and would be back to finish the job the next day. The Confederacy, with no fleet of its own, built an iron fort containing ten heavy guns on the hull of a captured Union frigate named the Merrimack.
A thousand-year-old tradition ended, and the path to the naval future opened. She fought the Merrimack to a standstill, and saved the Union cause. Abraham Lincoln himself was closely involved with the ship’s design.
No single sea battle has had more far-reaching consequences than the one fought in the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862. From acclaimed popular historian Richard Snow, who “writes with verve and a keen eye” ( The New York Times Book Review), the thrilling story of the naval battle that not only changed the Civil War but the future of all sea power.
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