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Off Norfolk, Virginia, the ironclad C.S.S. Virginia leads an attack that cripples the Union blockading fleet

Civil War at Sea Topic Image, Crew members of the USS Pawnee
03/08/1862
In Hampton Roads, off Norfolk, Virginia, the Confederate Navy made a powerful effort to break the Union blockade with an attack led by the newly converted armored warship Merrimack, now christened the C.S.S. Virginia.  The Virginia, under Captain Franklin Buchanan, and almost invulnerable to conventional cannon fire, led two other steamers, the Patrick Henry and the Thomas Jefferson to a comprehensive naval victory against the wooden fleet, destroying the U.S.S. Cumberland and the U.S.S. Congress, and disabling several others. (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
Frank Moore, ed., The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events, with Documents, Narratives, Illustrative Incidents, Poetry, Etc. (New York: G.P. Putnam, 1862), IV: 21.