Battleships were large warships, armed with two or four very powerful heavy guns, plus numerous faster-firing smaller ones. They were heavily armored, in keeping with their main mission of fighting other battleships. Five U.S. Navy battleships were active in the Spanish-American War:
Armored cruisers were second in rank to battleships--also large, but with less powerful main battery guns and lighter, though still substantial, armor. In keeping with the cruiser role, they were faster than battleships, with a long steaming range. Two U.S. Navy armored cruisers served in the war:
Modern monitors of the 1890s had heavy guns, but were smaller than battleships and had low freeboard and modest speed. They were not capable of effective operations on the high seas, though attempts were made to use them for this purpose. In 1898, the Navy also placed a number of old Civil-War-era monitors in service for the defense of the U.S. coast.
18 February 1998