In 1862, the Confederates built a startling kind of warship-an ironclad-designed to destroy the blockading Union fleet. But the Union Navy kept right up with them. It too built and ironclad-to make the blockade more perfect!
When the two ships-the Union's Monitor and the Confederacy's Merrimac (or Virginia, to label her correctly)-met at Hampton Roads, the resulting battle became famous all over the world. It has been called a drawn battle, but the nimble Monitor had all the advantages, and its successors were able to keep the ports of the South closed more effectively than ever.
For there was more than one monitor! The Monitor that engaged the Confederate ironclad in battle at Hampton Roads is the one best known to the average reader. However, it was only the first of a large family -all of them the products of the clever brain of an inventor named John Ericsson. Born in Sweden, John Ericsson was one of the thousands who have come from across the sea to enrich the United States with their ideas and skills.
Fletcher Pratt also tells the story of the men who commanded the monitors and ironclad vessels of the Confederate States. The pages of this book take us to Mobile Bay to hear Admiral Farragut's famous cry "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" In the same battle, Captain Craven of of the Tecumseh sacrificed his life to save the life of his pilot.
There is stirring, authentic history in this account of a brilliant inventor, of proud ships, and of the stanch sailor-men who made up their crews.
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