The dockyard, enclosed by high walls and covering 80 acres, is protected by a powerful fort - the construction and repairing of ironclads are extensively carried on here.
About six ironclads and twenty smaller vessels of the royal navy are stationed in colonial waters; the vessels of the colonial marine number about twenty-four, and undertake police supervision, prevention of slave trading, &c.
- The opposing forces now in the field numbered 190,000 Unionists and half that number of Confederates; sixty-nine warships flew the Stars and Stripes and a number of improvised ironclads and gunboats the rival "Stars and Bars."
The James river, afterwards so much used for the Federal operations, was not yet clear, and it was here, in Hampton Roads, that the famous fight took place between the ironclads "Merrimac" (or "Virginia") and "Monitor" (March 8-9, 1862).
The famous contest between the new ironclads "Monitor" and "Merrimac" (9th April), though indecisive, effectually stopped the career of the Confederate vessel, which was later destroyed by the Confederates themselves.