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[136] vessel that was virtually an ironclad. She accomplished nothing but successfully running ashore, and was captured by the Spaniards, who regarded her as a curiosity.

John Stevens, of Hoboken, New Jersey, submitted plans, during the War of 1812, for an ironclad to the United States Government. They were not acted upon, and America, for a time, watched Europe while she experimented with protecting iron belts, a movement that began soon after 1850, when ordnance had increased in power, penetration, and efficiency.

All that was lacking in the United States up to the year 1861 was a demand, or an excuse, for experiment along the lines of progress in naval construction. It came with the outbreak of the Civil War. As a naval writer, touching upon this subject, has written: “Instead of the mechanical genius of the whole country being devoted to constructions in advance for the discomfiture of a foreign foe, the inventive talents of the two sections were arrayed in hostile competition. The result was the creation of two types of armored steamer, different from each other and from constructions abroad, but each possessing features that have been lasting, and that have been repeated and improved in all subsequent naval shipbuilding.”

Being fully aware that there was being built in the old Norfolk Navy-Yard an iron-clad vessel, but quite misinformed as to its power and scope, the Federal Navy Department, on August 7, 1861, advertised for bids for the construction of “one or more iron-clad steam vessels of war . . . of not less than ten or over sixteen feet draft of water, to carry an armament of from eighty to one hundred tons weight.”

On September 16th, the board appointed to examine the ideas submitted made a long and exhaustive report. After the preamble occurs the following paragraph that is here quoted verbatim:

J. Ericsson, New York, page 19.--This plan of a floating battery is novel, but seems to be based upon a plan which will render the battery

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