From acclaimed popular historian Richard Snow, the thrilling story of the naval battle that not only changed the course of the Civil War but the future of all sea power. No single sea battle has triggered more far-reaching consequences than the one fought in the harbor at Hampton Roads, Virginia, in March 1862. The Confederacy, with no fleet of its own, built a sloped iron fort containing ten heavy guns on the hull of a captured Union frigate named the Merrimack. The North got word of the project when it was already well along, and, in desperation, secretly commissioned an eccentric inventor named John Ericsson to build the Monitor, a revolutionary iron warship--at the time, the single most complicated machine ever made. Abraham Lincoln himself was closely involved with the ship's design. Rushed through to completion in just one hundred days, it mounted two lethal guns housed in a shot-proof revolving turret. The new warship hurried south from Brooklyn (and nearly sank twice on the voyage), only to find the Merrimack had smokily destroyed half the Union fleet that morning and would be back to finish the job the next day. When she returned, the Monitor was there. She fought the Merrimack to a thunderous, blazing standstill and saved the Union cause. As soon as word of the clamorous battle spread, Great Britain--the foremost sea power of the day--ceased construction of all wooden warships. A thousand-year-old tradition ended, and the path to the naval future opened.--From dust jacket.