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The naval Battle of Hampton Roads was historically significant because:
It was an essential battle that allowed the Union to take over New Orleans.
It was the first and last time the Confederacy launched a naval assault on the Northern blockade.
It opened up Washington DC to Confederate attacks.
Though it resulted in a draw, it was the first time ironclad ships battled.
It was the climactic battle in the Union campaign to take control of the Mississippi River.