USS Monitor , a 987-ton armored turret gunboat, was built at New York to the design of John Ericsson . She was the first of what became a large number of "monitors" in the United States and other navies. Commissioned on 25 February 1862, she soon was underway for Hampton Roads, Virginia. Monitor arrived there on 9 March, and was immediately sent into action against the Confederate ironclad Virginia , which had sunk two U.S. Navy ships the previous day . The resulting battle , the first between iron-armored warships, was a tactical draw.
Return to Naval Historical Center home page. Return to Online Library listing Online Library of Selected Images: -- U.S. NAVY SHIPS -- USS Monitor 's construction resulted from a study of ironclad warships mandated by the Congress in July 1861, as the Civil War moved rapidly from crisis to serious armed conflict. During August and September the study board's members, Commodores Joseph Smith and Hiram Paulding and Commander Charles H.