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Next in importance is the Artillery, whose work it is to open the way for, and cover the movements of, the other arms by destroying the enemy’s defences at long range, silencing his artillery, and demoralizing his infantry; or, at short ranges, to crush them by a rapid fire of case and shrapnel.

Brooke gun (Made at Tredegar Iron Works) on James River above Dutch Gap Canal

Brooke gun (Made at Tredegar Iron Works) on James River above Dutch Gap Canal

Ploughshares into swords : Josiah Gorgas and Confederate ordnance Frank E. Vandiver College Station : Texas A & M University Press, 1994 Hardcover. xiv, 349 p. : ill. ; 23 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 315-322) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Begun in the late 1940’s research for this book started with Vandiver’s interviewing the Confederate ordnance chief’s daughters and included perusal of Gorgas’s 1857-1877 journals.

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Gorgas is credited with creating, in the Confederacy’s ordnance department, “success beyond expectation.” With the South having far less capacity to produce arms than the North and with communications from the field severely hampered throughout the war, the former West Pointer nevertheless was responsible for the fact that, as some have argued, the South kept the war alive as long as it did.

Richmond, Virginia. A light Brooke rifle. (3-inch gun)

Richmond, Virginia. A light Brooke rifle. (3-inch gun)

Supplying the South with firearms was such a problem in the beginning that pikes and lances had been ordered to arm troops. Lead shortages were chronic, and at one point in 1863 a bureau circular restricted cartridge issues to three per man per month. But supplies never dried up completely, and Gorgas kept his eye on the situation in every theater.

Fall of Richmond scene after the fire. Inscribed within image as identifiers: Belle Isle [without the prison]; Peterbugh[sic]& Richmond RR.; Labratory[sic]; Holywood Cemetery; Tredegar Iron Works; Broken ground; Tredegar; Tredegar; Artillery; Ordinanc[e] Storehouse; Tredegar Foundry; Artil[l]ery Workshop; Arsenal. Published in: Harper's Weekly, 22 April, 1865, p. 253, as: The City of Richmond, Virginia, Looking Westward.

Fall of Richmond scene after the fire. Inscribed within image as identifiers: Belle Isle [without the prison]; Petersburg[sic]& Richmond RR.; laboratory[sic]; Holywood Cemetery; Tredegar Iron Works; Broken ground; Tredegar; Tredegar; Artillery; ordinance Storehouse; Tredegar Foundry; Artillery Workshop; Arsenal. Published in: Harper’s Weekly, 22 April, 1865, p. 253, as: The City of Richmond, Virginia, Looking Westward.

As Vandiver wrote, “one of the greatest testimonials to the efficient manner in which Gorgas had organized the bureau is the performance of his field officers during the last hectic days before the surrender of the Army of the Tennessee.” Vandiver adds that “the main reason why the bureau managed to go on functioning was that Gorgas had given so much authority to the lower echelons.” President Jefferson Davis rewarded Gorgas with a promotion to brigadier general in November 1864. “With Sherman ravaging the industrial heart of the shrinking Confederacy, Gorgas had done all he could to make his bureau weather the hurricane,” Vandiver wrote, adding, “He thought he had succeeded, and he was almost right.”

Confederate battery on James River above Dutch Gap Canal.

Confederate battery on James River above Dutch Gap Canal.

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