Battle of the Ironclads 150th Anniversary

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Mar 7, 2012 | Updated: Apr 17, 2018

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Naval warfare forever changed when the USS Monitor met the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862. It was the first meeting of two iron ships and ended in a draw, but more importantly, the event resonated worldwide and affected how nations waged war at sea.

March 9-11 is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads weekend. History buffs will no doubt want to be immersed in the events that lie ahead, and it’ll be great fun for families, too!

March 10 and 11 at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News

  • Ironclad BattleQuest – “Union and Confederate ‘spies’ will abound as families explore the encampment, uncover secrets about the USS Monitor AND CSS Virginia, hold audience with Abraham Lincoln, and experience Civil War food before reporting back to their ‘commanding officer.'”
  • Encampment – Union and Confederate units * Sutlers * Period cooking (Saturday only)
  • Re-Enactment Demonstrations – Infantry and bayonet drills * School of the Sailor * Artillery and Calvary demonstrations
  • Indoors – Period crafts and activities * Costumed interpreters * Monitor Center Conservation Tours
  • Interactive Vignettes and Scheduled Programs – Civil War Through Music * Uncommon Soldiers: Civil War Soldiers in Disguise * Sailor vs. Soldier Life * A Conversation with Mr. Lincoln * Civil War Oddities (Saturday only) * A Slave’s Perspective of the War (Sunday only)
  • Civil War 150 HistoryMobile – Battlefront, Homefront, Journey to Freedom, and Loss-Gain-Legacy – these are the four presentations of the HistoryMobile. See the Civil War from different viewpoints and from the eyes of those who were involved.

March 10 at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News

Battle of the Ironclad Chefs

Battle of the Ironclad Chefs

  • 2nd Annual Battle of the Ironclad Chefs – It’s a cook-ff between a plantation cook and a Union cook on the deck of the USS Monitor! See them cook as they discuss their menu choices, ingredients, and cooking styles. At 6:30 p.m. the food will be judged to determine which chef will be crowned the 2012 Ironclad Chef. Don’t worry, you’ll get to sample!

All front lawn activities are free and open to the public. Ironclad BattleQuest, indoor activities, special presentations, and Battle of the Ironclad Chefs require Museum admission.

Adults: $12.00
AAA, Military, Seniors (65+): $11.00
Students 13 and up: $10.00
Children Ages 6 to 12: $7.00
Ages 5 and Under: Free

In addition to the special 150th Anniversary events, any trip to the Mariners Museum and The USS Monitor Center yields amazing up-close-and-personal experiences.

  • Visit the Conservation Facility and get a front-row seat to see conservation of the USS Monitor in progress.*
  • Walk down a mock deck to enter the CSS Virginia as she’s being built for battle.
  • Build your own ironclad.
  • Experience the battle yourself when you go into the Battle Theater.
  • Walk on the deck of a full-scale ironclad reproduction.
  • Go below deck to see the sailor’s quarters.
  • Raise the turret with the NOAA and Navy crews in the Recovery Theater.

*The USS Monitor rests in the Atlantic Ocean off the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a protected sanctuary area, however, her screw propeller, anchor, and hundreds of other artifacts have been retrieved. The revolving gun turret, steam engine, and Dahlgren guns and carriage are visible from a viewing platform.

Learn more about the Civil War in Virginia.


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