The Monitor and the Merrimack. The Merrimack and the Monitor. These ships were and always will be the first introduction to a brand new category of naval warfare. Iron shells that could deflect cannon balls like a trampoline, steam engines that didn't rely on win power to travel, and such bulk and size that there's space for everything. These ships inspired naval warfare to advance to a whole new level with new materials being used and sails no longer being used because the burning of fossil fuels could power a motor that could consistently keep a large ironclad ships moving at all times. For future battles and recreational purposes boats and large war vessels no longer had to be made of wood where it could be simply destroyed and couldn't move sometimes due to the power of the wind. All of these features come back to the first battle of Ironclads. That is how the Battle of Hampton Roads change the history of naval warfare forever
The USS Merrimack was originally one of the largest ships in the Union Navy. However, it was captured by the Confederates. Soldiers set the ship on fire, but the Confederates managed to save the hull of the ship. The confederates rebuilt the ship with a steam powered engine and iron armor. They renamed the ship the USS Virginia which was used in the Battle of Ironclads. After the north had heard about this new invention of an iron ships they rushed to build their own to compare to it. They build the Monitor. The monitor was completely protected with iron armor and equipt with steam powered engines. These were the two ships to compete years later. The Virginia was commanded by Flag Officer Frank Buchanan and the Monitor was commanded by Captain John Warden.
The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia were not the first ironclad ships but were the first introduced to naval warfare. Wooden vessels were previously used which took a long time to make, controlled by sails, and easily destructible making repairs a constant and necessary thing. These new ironclad ships could take a few hits before taking damage that needed repairing.
The two iron built ships went into battle both immediately taking hits, but they were not hard enough to damage the ship's shell. After hours, finally a cannon from the USS Virginia hit the Monitor's Pilothouse temporarily blinding the ships captain. The USS Virginia immediately took advantage of the opportunity and fled to Norfolk, Virginia. As for the amazing Battle of Ironclads... it ended in a draw.