The same board of officers which took the momentous step of recommending the construction of the Monitor also recommended the acceptance of two other designs; that of the Galena, which was a failure, and that of the New Ironsides which, practically speaking, was a complete success.
The design of the New Ironsides was based wholly on that of the French Gloire and the British Warrior: solid, conventional construction of wood, conventional rigging and engines, armor amidships protecting the guns and the boilers. The speed was only 6 knots, but then it was not anticipated that she would have to run away from any ship in the world. The New Ironsides also carried a ram on the bow. In terms of contemporary shipbuilding techniques, the New Ironsides was easy to build. She was completed without incident late in 1862 and assigned to the siege of Charleston, where her 11-inch guns fired thousands of rounds at the forts in the next two years. She was hit hundreds of times, and survived, with no serious damage, an attack by what was possibly the most deadly weapon of the naval war—a Confederate torpedo boat. The New Ironsides was built by C. W. Merrick and Sons, of Philadelphia, with the white oak hull provided by Cramps Shipyard, also of Philadelphia.
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