The Ward Leonard System was installed experimentally on the USS Brooklyn in 1896; however, a controversy arose between the line and staff officers as to whether or not it was suitable to use electricity in gun turrets.
To settle the dispute, and in front of Assistant Secretary of War, Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Brooklyn conducted a test, with one gun turret operated by the old method and another by the Ward Leonard System. The test demonstrated the superiority of the Ward Leonard System and resulted in its adoption by the U.S. Navy.
The use of the Ward Leonard System in gun turrets was an important advancement for the military, as it allowed them to be more accurately controlled.
During the Spanish American War in 1898, the USS Brooklyn demonstrated the first successful use of electricity in warfare as motive power for gun turrets, ammunition hoists, and auxiliaries. The Ward Leonard System on the USS Brooklyn contributed to the destruction of Cervero’s fleet at the battle of Santiago during the Spanish American War.