The Monitor: The Iron Warship that changed the world
Illustrated by Larry Day
Ages 7 to 9
Penguin, 2003, 0-448-43245-5
It is 1861 and America is in the grip of a civil war. The northern states and those of the south are in a bitter conflict which has much of the nation in a state of turmoil. In an effort to cut off the Southern Confederacy from the rest of the world the Northern generals have positioned many fast ships around the main ports of the South creating a blockade. This is a state of affairs that the South cannot tolerate and Stephen Mallory, who is charge of the Southern navy, decides to build an ironclad ship which he hopes will help break the blockade. Mallory has very little time or money so instead of building an ironclad from scratch he uses the hull of an old wooden ship to which he adds a metal cover. The new hybrid ship is called the Virginia.
As soon as Northern spies hear about this new vessel, they inform their masters in Washington about what is going on. Soon the Northern navy is building an ironclad of their own which they call the Monitor and the race is on to see which side can complete their ironclad first.
In March of 1862 the Virginia gets to work and in short order sinks two Northern ships but before the odd looking vessel can send another ship to the bottom, the Monitor arrives on the scene. What followed was a battle unlike any other seen before or since.
The author of this fascinating non-fiction chapter book concludes this account by telling the reader what happened to both the ironclads after the war was war and by describing how the wreck of the Monitor was found off the coast of North Carolina.
This is one of the non-fiction titles in the “All Aboard Reading” series.
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