Battle of Ironclads

Week 9: Battle of the Ironclads


Read K – 6: The Monitor by Gare Thompson

7 – 8: Mr. Lincoln’s High-Tech War by Thomas B. Allen & Roger MacBride Allen (Read only: Chapter 6 “The Ironclads”)


  • What was the Union blockade or “Anaconda plan”? (Plan by the North to block all of the South’s ports so they could not receive needed supplies.)
  • What does an Anaconda do? (strangles victims)
  • Was the blockade working? (yes)
  • Why did the South want to build an ironclad warship? (could easily defeat wooden ships blocking their ports)
  • Where did the South get their ironclad warship? (Rebuilt the “Merrimac”, a northern warship, into their own southern warship, renamed the “Virginia”.)
  • How did the North respond when they heard the South was building an ironclad? (Began designing and building their own ironclad.)
  • Which ironclad got to the North’s naval blockade first? (The “Virginia”)
  • What effect did it have on the enemy ships? (Destroyed 2 ships)
  • Did wooden warships damage the Virginia? (no)
  • When did the “Monitor” arrive at the battle? (the next day)
  • How were the “Virginia” and the “Monitor” similar? (both ironclads; both had cannons)
  • How were they different? (Most of the “Monitor” was below the waterline, keeping it safe from enemy fire. Also, the “Monitor” had a rotating gun turret; it could turn in any direction regardless of what way the ship was facing. The Monitor was small.  The “Virginia” had a ram it used to destroy enemy ships. The Virginia was a huge ship. Its cannons were located on the ships’ sides, so it could only shoot correctly if it was facing the right direction.)
  • Were the two ironclads able to damage each other? (not much)
  • How did the battle of the ironclads change battles at sea? (Countries stopped building wooden warships.)
  • After the battle of the ironclads, was the North’s blockade broken? (No, the “Monitor” saved most of their ships.)
  • Why was the Virginia destroyed? (so it wouldn’t fall into enemy hands)
    Questions for Grades 7 – 8:
  • Why did the Union send the Monitor to the blockade before its sea trials were completed? (A freed slave working for one of the engineers of the Virginia heard about its progress and traveled north to let leaders know it would be finished soon.)
  • How was Lincoln involved in the recapture of Norfolk and Gosport Navy Yard? (Lincoln had come to visit McClellan’s base and found that there was no plan in place to recapture these Navy Yards. He decided to create a plan himself, and gave orders to the commander of the Monitor to ensure it was done.)


Activities: All Grades: Using this blank map of the United States from CLICK HERE , and this map of the Union and Confederacy: CLICK HERE  create your own Naval Blockade map similar to the one on page 8 of your text or the map on this site: by doing the following:

  1. Color all the Union States Blue
  2. Color all the Confederate states Grey.
  3. Draw triangles or ships around the perimeter of the Confederacy coastline to show where Union ships were likely located.

3 – 8:

  1. Print the Civil War Battles Chart from this site:
  2. Then use the information on the chart to complete this worksheet: Civil War Battles

Copyright March 5th, 2015 by Gwen Fredette

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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Civil War Era

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