Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History

Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History

by Richard Snow

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“An utterly absorbing account of one of history’s most momentous battles” (Forbes) that not only changed the Civil War but the future of all sea power—from acclaimed popular historian Richard Snow, who “writes with verve and a keen eye” (The New York Times Book Review).

No single sea battle has had more far-reaching consequences than the one fought in Hampton Roads, Virginia, in 1862. The Confederacy, with no fleet of its own, took a radical step to combat the Union blockade, building an iron fort containing ten heavy guns on the hull of a captured Union frigate named the Merrimack. The North got word of the project, and, in panicky desperation, commissioned an eccentric inventor named John Ericsson to build the Monitor, an entirely revolutionary iron warship. Rushed through to completion in just one hundred days, it mounted only two guns, but they were housed in a shot-proof revolving turret. The ship hurried south from Brooklyn, only to arrive to find the Merrimack had already sunk half the Union fleet—and would be back to finish the job. When she returned, the Monitor was there. She fought the Merrimack to a standstill, and, many believe, saved the Union cause. As soon as word of the fight spread, Great Britain—the foremost sea power of the day—ceased work on all wooden ships. A thousand-year-old tradition ended and the naval future opened.

Richly illustrated with photos, maps, and engravings, Iron Dawn “renders all previous accounts of the encounter between the Monitor and the Merrimack as obsolete as wooden war ships” (The Dallas Morning News). Richard Snow brings to vivid life the tensions of the time in this “lively tale of science, war, and clashing personalities” (The Wall Street Journal).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476794204
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 676,208
File size: 52 MB
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About the Author

Richard Snow spent nearly four decades at American Heritage magazine, serving as editor in chief for seventeen years, and has been a consultant on historical motion pictures, among them Glory, and has written for documentaries, including the Burns brothers’ Civil War, and Ric Burns’s award-winning PBS film Coney Island, whose screenplay he wrote. He is the author of multiple books, including, most recently, Disney’s Land.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Terrible Havoc: March 1862 1

Chapter 2 Augury 7

Chapter 3 Disgrace 15

Chapter 4 The First Necessity 27

Chapter 5 Old Father Neptune 35

Chapter 6 The Once and Future Merrimack 45

Chapter 7 Guns 61

Chapter 8 The Power of Alliteration 73

Chapter 9 The Entrepreneur 77

Chapter 10 The Inventor 85

Chapter 11 The Peacemaker 93

Chapter 12 Perfect Protection 103

Chapter 13 Something in It 109

Chapter 14 No Battle, No Money 129

Chapter 15 The Tardy Patriot 141

Chapter 16 Trial Run 149

Chapter 17 The Prisoner Takes Command 165

Chapter 18 Paymaster Keeler Comes East 175

Chapter 19 Like a Duck 183

Chapter 20 A Visit to Lincoln 195

Chapter 21 March 8: Iron Against Wood 201

Chapter 22 Frightful News 241

Chapter 23 The Short, Bad Voyage 247

Chapter 24 March 9: Iron Against Iron 265

Chapter 25 Victors 291

Chapter 26 Echoes 297

Chapter 27 Hawthorne Visits the Future 309

Chapter 28 Tattnall's Turn 317

Chapter 29 Lincoln in the Field 329

Chapter 30 Not the Way to Richmond 335

Chapter 31 Doldrums 343

Chapter 32 Hatteras 351

Chapter 33 Landfall 357

A Note on Sources, and Acknowledgments 363

Bibliography 369

Index 377

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