The Civil War Connections Blog

Music Monday: Bishop Allen

On the 150th anniversary on the launching of the USS Monitor it is only right that this Music Monday will be dedicated to an indie rock band named Bishop Allen.  Just like the famous ironclad, Bishop Allen is from Brooklyn, New York, a fact that is not missed by the band.  In their 2007 The Broken String EP the group recorded a song entitled “The Monitor.” The song roughly details the Battle of Hampton Roads; some of the lyrics include lines like:

Once a great ironworks

Stood at the end of my street

And they hauled in the Monitor

Fit with her armor

For to save the Union fleet


The river James was on fire

As the Merrimack thundered and raged

And she seemed so colossal and so unstoppable

Until the two engaged


The melody continues on to describe the battle as a tie singing “Is that courage? I’m not sure.” As a history major I must credit Bishop Allen for noting the historical significance of the battle at the end of the song by ringing in the lyrics “Oh none of them cared/ How much it just changed right then and there.”  The band may have been meant something else with those lines but it seems to me that they were referring to new iron era of naval warships that spawned from the Battle of Hampton Roads.


Check out the song here: