Acknowledgements: This book could not have been written without the research done by many others. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Dr. Jared Diamond of UCLA for his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed for the basic thematic impetus of this novel, and to all those researchers on the Internet and elsewhere who have put down the facts and details relating to the naval engagements of the American Civil War, especially as concerns the period 1860- 1863.

Dedicated to my father, Elvis Ray Musgrave (Pearl Harbor Survivor), 1921-2001 and to my mother, Jean Elizabeth Mandeville, 1925-2005.

Prologue: The Race

January 28, 1862, Brooklyn

Inside the Continental Shipyard, there was a flurry of activity. In two days, the U.S.S. Monitor would be launched for her maiden voyage. Carpenters, ship fitters, metal workers, sailors and officers were climbing all over the dark little craft, which was sitting in the early morning shadows in dry dock near the East River. She resembled a medieval instrument of torture, with sharp pieces of metal sticking out of her hull and the round turret sitting amidships, as if it were the block for a colossal guillotine, waiting for the executioner to appear. In a short while, she was going to be transferred to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for final touches and the launching ceremony.

Inside the Drafting Office, John Ericsson and Captain John Worden were going over the final plans with Lead Draftsman, Charles McCord. McCord was pointing out some questions he had about the weight of the cannons.

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