Ironclads were warships built of wood or iron and covered with thick plates of iron. During the 1820s naval guns that fired explosive shells (versus solid cannonballs) were developed. Because the new shells could easily destroy the hull of a wooden ship, the navy began developing ways to protect its battleships from this superior ammunition. Ships clad in iron could better sustain the fire of explosive shells.
The first battle between two ironclads was staged during the American Civil War (1861–65). On March 9, 1862, the Union's Monitor, originally built as an ironclad and equipped with a revolving gun turret, faced the Confederacy's Virginia. (The Virginia was made by raising the sunken federal boat the Merrimack and covering the wooden vessel with iron plates.) The ships met at Hampton Roads, Virginia, a channel that empties into Chesapeake Bay. Though the outcome was indecisive, the Monitor 's performance in the battle was sufficient to warrant the U.S. Navy's production of a fleet of ironclad ships. The March 1862 battle off the coast of Virginia marked the beginning of modern naval warfare.
The use of sturdier materials in shipbuilding, along with the steam-power and the screw propeller, all of which were used by Civil War ironclads, greatly improved the efficiency of maritime commerce after the war. In fact John Ericsson (1803–1899), the designer of the Monitor, had also developed the screw propeller.
See also: Civil War
"Ironclads." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ironclads
"Ironclads." Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. . Retrieved August 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ironclads
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.