Home / Travel Guides - Hampton Roads Area / Battle Of Hampton Roads

Wikimedia Commons/Kurz & Allison

More About
Hampton Roads Area, VA

Battle of Hampton Roads The Civil War. Imagine the scene on the cold morning of March 9, 1862. During the night, the USS Monitor has arrived in Hampton Roads, sheathed in metal and lumbering under heavy weight. Sailors aboard the untested warship are exhausted after a perilous trip from New York, and many are sick from the rough seas.

The Monitor is the first Union ironclad, constructed in a hurry by Northern shipmakers. The crew isn't certain she's ready for battle. The Confederate CSS Virginia, a scuttled Union ship that the South has refitted in iron, is wreaking havoc. Just hours before the Monitor's arrival, the Virginia has sunk two Union warships and scattered the rest of the blockade. Some 240 Union sailors are dead. The Virginia will surely return to destroy the Minnesota, run aground after yesterday's assault and listing undefended in the sandy shoals.

The Monitor's crewmen know they are the Minnesota's only hope. They grow quiet as their ship approaches the harbor. Burning Union ships light the way. Commanding officer Lt. John L. Worden shouts, “Full steam ahead!” Gunners ready the turret, which has never been fired before.

Wikimedia Commons/Jo Davidson
The small ship, a mere hump submerged in the harbor, moves in to block the paralyzed Minnesota. The bigger Virginia steams out to engage her Union targets. All cannons explode at once, a steady percussion hammering at close range. A cat and mouse chase ensues, and the ships ram each other—to no avail. Thick clouds of smoke and steam choke the air. The Monitor removes to shallow water where the bulky Virginia cannot maneuver. The firing continues all morning. Then the Virginia fires a direct hit—the Monitor's pilothouse. Worden is struck and blinded. The Monitor pulls back, and the Virginia leaves enemy waters for its Confederate stronghold, Norfolk.

No one wins. No one loses. The Union blockade remains, and the Minnesota survives.

Nine months later, the celebrated Monitor will be lost in a storm off the coast of North Carolina.

Read More

Hampton Roads Area, VA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.

Members save 5% or more and earn Honors points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Hampton Inn & Suites

200 Vincents Crossing. Smithfield, VA 23430

Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center

4535 Commerce St. Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Norfolk Waterside Marriott

235 E Main St. Norfolk, VA 23510

Book Now
AAA Members

Members save 5% to 15% and earn 10% bonus Best Western Rewards® points when booking AAA/CAA rates!

Best Western Plus Holiday Sands Inn & Suites

1330 E Ocean View Ave. Norfolk, VA 23503

Book Now
AAA Members

call or visit a AAA Travel Agent Today!

Find a AAA Office

As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.

Not a Member?

Join Now