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[Detail] The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865

Historical Analysis and Interpretation: Comparing Different Stories About an Event

On March 10, 1862, Taft reported on the exploits of the Confederate ironclad Merrimac (re-christened C.S.S. Virginia) at Hampton Roads and remarked, "But the exploits of the little Iron Boat Monitor …eclipsed all as she fairly drove the Merrimac back to Norfolk." Taft reported on the sinking of "the gallant little Monitor off Cape Hatteras" on January 5, 1863.

  • Use reference materials to find another account of the battle of the Monitor and Merrimac. According to this account, what was the outcome of the battle?
  • How accurate is Taft's brief mention in his diary of the outcome of the clash of the ironclads? What factors lead you to this conclusion?