On April 21, 1862, the USS Galena was commissioned. New Haven businessman Cornelius Bushnell submitted the design for the Galena by naval architect Samuel H. Pook to the United States Navy. Of the 17 ironclad designs under review, the Galena was selected for construction. The contract was awarded to the Mystic shipyard of Maxson, Fish & Company. The 950-ton, 210-foot-long ironclad steamer was launched less than five months after construction began on February 14, 1862, with a crew of 160 men.