Stalemate in Hampton Roads

Stalemate in Hampton Roads (HM6O3)

Location: Hampton, VA 23661
Country: United States of America

N 37° 0.149', W 76° 21.665'

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In a "big glass case"

— 1862 Peninsula Campaign —

After the March 8-9, 1862, Battle of Hampton Roads, CSS Virginia went into drydock for refitting. USS Monitor guarded Union Gen. George B. McClellan's transport vessels in the York River near Fort Monroe, and the Federals reinforced the bows of fast steamers to ram Virginia if she ventured into the Chesapeake Bay. The Confederates concocted a plan (but did not execute it) to disable Monitor's crew after reading a report in Scientific American: immobilize the turret, pour chloroform into it, cover the pilothouse with a tarpaulin, and wait for the vessel to surrender. More practically, Virginia received a new 14-foot-long ram as well as armor-piercing shot for her Brooke rifles to use against Monitor.

On April 11, Virginia, under Flag Officer Josiah Tattnall, entered Hampton Roads at 7:10 A.M. The Federal transports there scattered to the protection of Fort Monroe. Monitor, commanded by Lt. William N. Jeffers and reinforced by the iron-hulled Naugatuck, remained in the channel between Fort Monroe and the Rip-Raps under orders not to engage Virginia unless she entered the open waters of Chesapeake Bay. Virginia steamed around Hampton Roads until 4:00 P.M. while the Federal fleet watched, hoping that Monitor would attack. Lt. Joseph N. Barney in CSS Jamestown, meanwhile, captured two Union brigs and an Accomac schooner along Hampton Flats in front of you. Virginia, flying the captured flags upside-down in disdain, fired at Naugatuck and finally returned to Gosport Navy Yard.

The Northern press lambasted the Federals' lack of response, and Acting Assistant Paymaster William Keeler of Monitor expressed the crew's frustration: "I believe the Department is going to build a big glass case to put us in for fear of harm coming to us." Almost a month passed before the two ironclads again challenged each other for control of Hampton Roads.
HM NumberHM6O3
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 5:15am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 378896 N 4096013
Decimal Degrees37.00248333, -76.36108333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 0.149', W 76° 21.665'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 0' 8.94" N, 76° 21' 39.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3600 State Rte 167, Hampton VA 23661, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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