The Battle of Hampton Roads began March 8, 1862 when the newly-launched Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia (built on the hull of the former USS Merrimac) engaged the USS Congress and USS Cumberland, defeating the two conventional wooden vessels.
Also shown is an excerpt of a first-hand account by Rear Admiral Thomas O. Selfridge, Jr. At the time of the battle, Selfridge was a lieutenant in command of a gun division aboard the Cumberland.
The Sinking of the Cumberland by the Iron Clad Merrimac, off Newport News, Virginia, March 8th, 1862. Cumberland went down with all her Flags flying: destroyed but not conquered. Copy of lithograph by Currier & Ives, 1862.
(Ed. note: As a rare personal aside, my great-great grandfather served as a Marine aboard the Congress and was wounded during the battle. Luckily he survived, although the injuries troubled him long afterwards, according to his pension records. -D.)