Portrait of John Worden

Lieutenant John Worden commanded the USS Monitor during the Battle of Hampton Roads. [Wikimedia Commons]

Battle of Hampton Roads Facts

March 8–9, 1862

Key facts about the the Battle of Hampton Roads, also known as the Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack.


Also Known As

  • Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack
  • Battle of the Ironclads

Date and Location

  • March 8–9, 1862
  • Near the Gosport Shipyard (later named the Norfolk Naval Shipyard) in Virginia


Principal Union Commanders

  • Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough
  • Lieutenant John Worden

Principal Confederate Commanders

  • Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan
  • Lieutenant Catesby R. Jones

Union forces Engaged

  • Crew of USS Monitor

Confederate Forces Engaged

  • Crew of CSS Virginia

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Undetermined

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Undetermined

Estimated Union Casualties

  • 369 (261 killed, 108 wounded)

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • 95 (78 killed, 17 wounded)


  • Inconclusive


  • The Battle of Hampton Roads was a naval engagement between two ironclads, the CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor.
  • Hampton Roads is a bay-like body of water formed by the confluence of the James, Elizabeth, and Nansemond rivers in southeastern Virginia.
  • In the case of Hampton Roads, the word “roads” is a nautical term for a partially sheltered body of water where ships may ride at anchor.
  • Passage through Hampton Roads is the only point of connection between Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay (and subsequently the Atlantic Ocean).
  • On March 8, 1862, the Confederate commander of the CSS Virginia was Flag Officer Franklin Buchanan.
  • On March 9, 1862, the Confederate commander of the CSS Virginia was Lieutenant Catesby R. Jones.
  • The commander of the USS Monitor during the Battle of Hampton Roads was Lieutenant John Worden.
  • The Battle of Hampton Roads the first engagement between two ironclads in the history of naval warfare.
  • The USS Monitor’s continued presence in Hampton Roads following the Battle of Hampton Roads enabled Union General George B. McClellan to initiate his Peninsula Campaign with an amphibious landing near Fort Monroe on March 17, 1862.
  • Flag Officer J. Tattnall scuttled the CSS Virginia in the James River on May 11, 1862, rather than let his ship fall into Union hands.
  • On January 1, 1863, the USS Monitor foundered during a storm off Cape Hatteras and went to the bottom of the Atlantic along with four officers and twelve crewmen.

Timeline of the Peninsula Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Peninsula Campaign in order. The battles that occurred from June 25 to July 1, 1862, are collectively known as the Seven Days Battles.


Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Hampton Roads Facts
  • Coverage March 8–9, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Hampton Roads, Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 13, 2021
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