|When the three ships of the 1900 fiscal year were approved, the board considered various combinations of secondary arrangement. Some designs incorporated the
newly produced 7-inch gun casemates, four 8-inch guns in a second story of the two main gun turrets, as in Keasarge, four twin 8-inch gun turrets arranged as in
Indiana and Iowa, and four 8-inch gun turrets, two atop the main gun turrets and two in waist positions with a 6-inch casemate battery. Vote after vote was taken
and no consensus could be reached. By May 1900 Congress had approved the fiscal 1901 battleships and it was proposed that the 1900 year ships be built with
eight separate turrets and 1901 year ships be built with superimposed turrets with no waist turrets. The chief constructor, Rear Admiral Phillip Hichborn, insisted
that all five be built to a common design. At the time, in spite that the Kearsarge and Kentucky had been completed most were in favor of the two-story turrets,
oblivious to the facts that they were very restricted to being trained on the same targets as the main guns and difficulty in correcting fire because the shell splashes
of the 12-inch shells and 8-inch shells were difficult to distinguish from one another at combat range. On January 24, 1901 the chief of the Bureau of Ordnance
advocated the two superimposed turrets but two, rather than four twin gun waist turrets. Ten of the twelve members agreed and only Chief Constructor, Rear
Admiral Hichborn, objected to the superimposed turrets. The matter was settled when the Secretary of the Navy approved the majority opinion. Interestingly, within
a few years all of the members who wanted superimposed turrets were violently opposed to them when their restrictions became manifest.
Originally the three ships of the fiscal 1900 were to be New Jersey (BB-13) to be built by Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, VA, Nebraska (BB-14) to
be built by Moran Brothers, Seattle, WA and Georgia (BB-15) to be built by Bath Iron Works, Bath, ME, while the two ships of the fiscal 1901 plan were to be
Virginia (BB-16) to be built by Fore River Ship and Engine, Quincy, MA and Rhode Island (BB-17) to be built by Fore River Ship and Engine, Quincy, MA.
Instead, Virginia and New Jersey swapped names so that USS Virginia would be built in the State of Virginia. All dimensions and displacement leaped above those
of the Maine Class. Waterline length was 435-feet compared to 388-feet in Maine, beam 76-feet 2.5-inches compared to 72-feet 2.5-inches and normal
displacement of 14,948-tons compared to 12,508-tons. Indicated Horsepower (IHP) of the Virginias was 22,841ihp vs 15,841ihp in the Maines with a maximum
speed of 17-knots for 12 to 24 hours vs the 16-knots of the Maine Class. The Virginia Class had an armament fit of four 12-inch/40 Mk III (2x2), eight 4x2
eight-inch/45 Mk VI, twelve 6-inch/50 12x1 Mk VII guns and four 21-inch submerged torpedo tubes (added as an initial alteration). The armor arrangement was
turret face 12-inches for main guns and superimposed turrets and 6.5-inches for waist secondary turrets. Barbette armor was 10 to 7.5 inches for main gun turrets
and 6-inches for the waist turrets. Belt armor was 11 to 8-inches and casemate armor 6-inches. The armor design of belt and casemate armor caused a problem
with replenishing coal. There were no openings in the casemate armor allowing coal replenishment on the main deck. Instead coal sacks had to be raised to the 01
deck and poured through scuttles at that higher level, through temporary canvas chutes to the bunkers. Accordingly coal replenishment was more arduous and time
consuming than in previous design. The conning tower had 9-inch armor and the armor deck was 3 to 1.5-inches with 3-inches on the slope to the hull sides.
Another war lesson incorporated into the design was the reduction of combustible wood to the highest degree possible. Georgia and Virginia were outfitted with
modified Niclausse boilers and the other three received Babcock and Wilcox boilers. The original Niclausse boiler design had been uses in the Maine Class had been
troublesome. The new design was somewhat better but the Georgia and Virginia had their Niclausse boilers replaced in 1916.