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The Civil War
(1861-1865)

Naval Changes in the War



Naval Changes in the War
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.95

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    adversary, ironclad, lightening, onboard, reforge, steamship, determined, frigate, blockade, ports, naval, mines, outcome, warship, commander, renamed
     content words:    Civil War, On March, James River, Hampton Roads, Soon Northern


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Naval Changes in the War
By Mary Lynn Bushong
  

1     When the Civil War began, it did not just affect the army, but the navy as well. When the war began, naval battles were fought in wooden ships. In months, though, they were experimenting with ironclad ships, submarines, and torpedoes.
 
2     Perhaps the most well known ironclad ships were the Merrimac and the Monitor. Ironclads were so named because of the iron plates which covered the parts of the ship above the water. The Merrimac was a Union ship that had been burned and sunk. The Confederates raised her and used the hull as the basis for their new ironclad warship. She was renamed the C.S.S. Virginia, but was still known as the Merrimac. She rode low in the water which made her hard to steer. However, she was well built, and her crew was determined to show it. On March 8, 1862, the Merrimac sailed up the James River and attacked the blockaded ships at Hampton Roads. She rammed and sunk the steamship Cumberland and then attacked the frigate Congress. Cannon balls bounced off of the Merrimac and seemed to do no harm.
 
3     The next day, the U.S.S. Monitor arrived to protect the Union ships. She was determined to stop the Merrimac from sinking more ships. She was faster and easier to maneuver, but the Merrimac was bigger, stronger, and carried more guns.

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