Uhh, not exactly. The Merrimac/Virginia never got out of the James estuary. Probably would have immediately sunk if it ha.
It did indeed terrorize the US Navy, but only for one day, handing it its worst defeat in history before Pearl Harbor. Would have done more damage, but the Monitor showed up the next day and fought her to a draw.
The New England coast may have been terrorized, but only because they were idiots who didn’t realize the M/V was if possible even less seaworthy than the Monitor. Engines, if I remember correctly, had a top speed of something like 4 knots and it took her 45 minutes or so to turn around.
The CSN engineers did amazing work with what they had, but their extremely limited resource meant they produced a major kludge.
If my rendition of it based on reading it years ago were from a Hollywood director, you’d not be able to question it. In any case, I’m certainly partially correct. The history book that I read about the Civil War was several hundred pages long, and had pictures.