The Civil War Connections Blog

Pook’s plan, Bushnell’s backing

One of the plans that was submitted for the Ironclad Board’s consideration was that of an iron gunboat to be named the Galena. This vessel was a 210-foot-long, sail-rigged vessel with six guns in her broadside. Designed by Samuel H. Pook of Connecticut, she would feature a curved, sloped casemate, 3 1/4 inches of iron plate, and an unarmored deck. The conservative Galena was the sort of vessel that would appeal to the Ironclad Board, but she had a secret advantage, too:  Pook’s design was submitted by Cornelius S. Bushnell, a powerful Connecticut financier with connections in Congress.

Bushnell met with the Ironclad Board early in September and while they liked what they saw of Pook’s plan, they questioned some of the calculations concerning the seaworthiness of the Galena. Bushnell needed to find someone who could attest that the vessel was seaworthy – and he needed to find them soon.