JUNE 9TH, 1862: Secretary of the Navy Welles wrote Senator John P. Hale, Chairman of the Senate Naval Committee, and expressed his belief that the only security against any foreign war was having a Navy second to none: "The fact that a radical change has commenced in the construction and armament of ships, which change in effect dispenses with the navies, that have hitherto existed, is obvious, and it is a question for Congress to decide whether the Government will promptly take the initiative step to place our country in the front rank of maritime powers...."
"Other nations, whose wooden ships-of-war far exceed our own in number, cannot afford to lay them aside, but are compelled to plate them with iron at very heavy cost.
"They are not aware of the disadvantage of this proceeding, but it is a present necessity. It must be borne in mind, however, that those governments which are striving for naval supremacy are sparing no expense to strengthen themselves by building iron vessels, and already their dock-yards are undergoing the necessary preparation for this change in naval architecture."
In other words, other nations are stuck with a whole lot of wooden warships, which have been found to be inferior to the new ironclads. We have a chance to become the most powerful naval country in the world. Let's go with it.