The First Battle of the Iron Clads. In a Contemporary Civil War-Era Lithograph.
Three-stone color lithograph of the most famous naval battle of the Civil War; the engagement between the Iron Clads Virginia (of the CSA, a.k.a. "Merrimac") and Monitor (of the Union).
The Merrimac started life a steam frigate in the U.S. Navy. When the Confederates threatened the Norfolk Navy Yard, Union soldiers burned it and all its ships, including the Merrimack (initially christened with the k). Upon capturing the naval yard, the Confederates raised her and found her hull to be in passable condition. They added an iron-clad and reinforced gun deck and rechristened her the C.S.S. Virginia. The name Merrimack and Virginia were used interchangeably by both sides, the name Merrimac was apparently used erroneously, but continues today.
The U.S.S. Monitor was designed by John Ericsson for the Federal Navy Department as a counter to the Virginia. Both ships were launched in 1862, and first met at Hampton Roads, just inside the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay in the battle depicted in this print. The battle resulted in a stalemate; both ships fired repeatedly into one another from close range, but neither suffered major damage. They disengaged after several hours.
The print is surrounded by vignettes: six interior views of the ship and a portrait of Ericson.