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[159]

The “cheese box” that made history: as it appeared four months later In this remarkable view of the “Monitor's” turret, taken in July, 1862, is seen as clearly as on the day after the great battle the effect of the Confederate fire upon Ericsson's novel craft. As the two vessels approached each other about half-past 8 on that immortal Sunday morning, the men within the turret waited anxiously for the first shot of their antagonist. It soon came from her bow gun and went wide of the mark. The “Virginia” no longer had the broadside of a wooden ship at which to aim. Not until the “Monitor” was alongside the big ironclad at close range came the order “Begin firing” to the men in the “cheese box.” Then the gun-ports of the turret were triced back, and it began to revolve for the first time in battle. As soon as the guns were brought to bear, two 11-inch solid shot struck the “Virginia's” armor; almost immediately she replied with her broadside, and Lieutenant Greene and his gunners listened anxiously to the shells bursting against their citadel. They made no more impression than is apparent in the picture. Confident in the protection of their armor, the Federals reloaded with a will and came again and again to close quarters with their adversary, hurling two great projectiles about every eight minutes.

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S. Dana Greene (1)
John Ericsson (1)
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July, 1862 AD (1)
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