In the latter part of the 19th century, technology was rapidly growing, offering new and, in most cases, better ways of doing things. Steam propulsion offered an alternative to the caprices of the winds, rifling was improving the marksmanship of naval gunners, and armor was transforming ships into fortifications as well as mobile artillery platforms. This technological growth was alluring and captured the imagination of many of the less conservative elements of the naval profession, as well it should.
Putting the Horse Before the Cart
By Lieutenant Commander Thomas J. Cutler, U.S. Navy (Retired)