The Monitor’s Mates

America’s naval tradition is as old as America itself, and an amazing number of the ships that forged it are still afloat.

Something about ships accentuates the human experience, most obviously because of the breadth of activity that has taken place within such small spaces. Crewmen, especially aboard warships, did not have an inch to waste, and the social microcosms of shipboard life come alive in each vessel featured here. You don’t have to be a sailor to appreciate their beauty and efficiency.Read more »

The Monitor Makes Port

After a century and a half, the warship that changed the world is back

On March 9, 1862, a naval engagement near Chesapeake Bay in Virginia ended with no decisive victor and without claiming a single life. Yet no one has ever doubted that the bloodless fight changed naval warfare forever. Now, only a few miles from the broad channel where the battle took place, it is changing something else: the way present-day visitors experience Civil War history.Read more »

Hampton Roads

It is a place of noble harbors, a convergence of strong rivers and a promontory commanding a wind-raked bay; a shoreline enfolding towns older than the Republic and the most modern and formidable naval base on earth; a spot where a four-hour standoff between two very peculiar ships changed the course of warfare forever—and the breeding ground of crabs that people travel across the country to eat. Fred Schultz explains why the fifth annual American Heritage Great American Place Award goes to

Twice wholly destroyed and twice rebuilt, Norfolk is again redefined and in the midst of an ambitious rehabilitation. Read more »