"The rumors were true" is what the sailors aboard the five Union ships guarding the mouth of the James River at Hampton Roads, Virginia probably thought as the late U.S.S. Merrimack, now the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, approached from Norfolk. First the Virginia went for the Cumberland, an already outdated vessel dating to the 1840s, ramming and sending her to a watery grave. Then, she went for the Congress, with an outcome exactly the same as the fate of the Cumberland: the Congress took a journey to the bottom. The Minnesota, Roanoke, and St. Lawrence were spared... for the time being, the Confederates hoped. Until the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, March 8, 1862 would go down as the worst day in U.S. Naval History.
|The Monitor and Merrimac: The First Fight Between Ironclads by L. Prang & Co., 1886.|