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Monitor versus Merrimack

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A naval engagement of the Civil War, fought in 1862 off the coast of Virginia between two ironclad ships, the Union Monitor and the Confederate Virginia (which had been built on the hull of the U.S.S. Merrimack). The incident demonstrated that wooden warships were obsolete.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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