At the start of the Civil War, the futuristic Stevens Battery warship had been on the building ways for seven years. Despite her potential and the U.S. Navy's desperate need for ships, she would remain there for another 20 years.
The Stevens Battery was arguably the most technologically advanced warship of the mid-19th century. Conceptually, the ship was futuristic, with no masts or sails atop her sleek, stiletto-shaped iron hull. Well armed and armored, she was designed to be invulnerable to shot and shell as well as highly maneuverable and fast; the propeller-driven steamship had an estimated top speed of 20 knots. Despite these promises, however, the vessel sat uncompleted at her building site in Hoboken, New Jersey, from 1854 until 1881.