2024 History Day Winner

Battle Of Hampton Roads:

From Wood to Iron

Gavin Broman
Junior Division
Individual Documentary


 I originally learned about my topic from the graphic novel “Big Bad Ironclad” by Nathan Hale. My
research took me to a lot of different navy databases like the Mariners Museum, Library of Congress, and
the Naval History and Heritage Command. It also took me to my local library to get books and to my school
Most of my primary sources were naval reports from captains or important people that were on one
of the two ironclads. I also used database articles from Gale and Brittanica.
Originally I thought that the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor were the first ironclads made. I later
learned that they were only the first to fight each other in a battle. I also originally thought that the Union
ships being the USS Minnesota, USS Congress, and USS Cumberland were just there patrolling Hampton
Roads when the CSS Virginia attacked. I later learned that they were part of a naval blockade.
I put my project together with WeVideo which is a video editing software that my school has access
to. I have used editing softwares before like Capcut and Microsoft Clipchamp so it wasn’t a huge challenge
learning how to use the software.
My thesis is : During the US Civil war the Union made a blockade against the Confederacy in an
attempt to starve the country of resources.On March 8-9, 1862, the CSS Virginia attempted to break that
blockade during the Battle of Hampton Roads, but was halted by the USS Monitor, the Union ironclad. This
led to the Union winning the battle and becoming a turning point in naval technology and the transfer from
wood to iron warships. The main point I am trying to make is that the Battle of Hampton Roads was the
decisive battle that proved that ironclads and ships like them were going to be the future of naval warfare.
My topic relates to the theme, turning points in history because the battle proved that iron warships
could work and that they were far superior to the wooden warships of the time. This makes it an important
part of world history because all navies today consist of iron and steel warships.