Friday, March 09, 2012

Battle of the First Ironclads: USS Monitor vs. CSS Virginia, 150 Years Ago Today

The first ironclads in the world fought in Hampton Roads on this date, 150 years ago. The CSS Virginia had the day previously struck out against the Federal naval blockade, causing havoc. Then the USS Monitor arrived. The ensuing battle was fought to a draw, but the blockade remained in effect. On May 9, 1862, Virginia was destroyed by its own crew to prevent capture; on December 31, 1862, Monitor sank in a storm off the coast of North Carolina.

The legacy of these two ships remains. If you go to Norfolk, Virginia, today, you'll see a naval installation larger than anything conceived of by an ordinary person in the world of 1862, showcasing the ironclads' descendents in the way of aircraft carriers and submarine warships armed with missiles and torpedoes. And another war looming even while, in North America, people still fight savagely over the Federal vs. State balance of power, albeit, as of 2012, more through political theatre than literal firefights. On top of that, the parties have switched roles. Now, what was Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party in 1862 has become more akin to Jefferson Davis' ex-Democratic Confederate faction, and the Democratic Party of 2012 led by Barack Obama more closely follows the spirit and vision of Lincoln.  

Today's Rune: The Mystery Rune.    

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember reading about this event years ago. Very interesting. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall, or a seagull flying over, perhaps, at that battle.