The USS Monitor is one of the most famous ships that has ever been built for naval warfare. It helped usher in a new era of ironclad, turreted, and steam-powered naval vessels when it met the CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimac) at the Battle of Hampton Roads. Even though the battle resulted in a draw, it marked the end of the dominance of wooden-hulled, sailing warships. Later that year, the Monitor sank in a gale off the coast of North Carolina where it remained undiscovered for over 100 years.

It was found in 1973 and was soon designated as the nation's first National Marine Sanctuary. The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary works to preserve the historic record of this significant vessel, interpret its role in shaping US naval history, recover important ship components and artifacts, and protect the wreck from further damage by activities such as vessel anchoring and fishing. This Encyclopedia is meant to provide information, video clips, still images, and additional educational resources about the USS Monitor and its place in history. We hope you find this to be a valuable resource.