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Iron for The Civil War

Iron for The Civil War

(p.183) 5 Iron for The Civil War
Mastering Iron
Anne Kelly KnowlesChester Harvey
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the role of iron in the Civil War. The volume of production in the North gave the Union an enormous initial advantage in manufacturing war material, and Northern companies were quick to exploit government contracts to accelerate their growth. Confederate chief of ordnance Josiah Gorgas recognized the South’s perilous position and moved quickly to expand manufacturing capacity. He was less successful in halting the loss of skilled workers. Wartime experiences at Alabama’s Shelby Iron Works illustrate the South’s difficulties and show how important it was for Southern companies to retain a skilled workforce.

Keywords:   American ironmaking, iron industry, North, South, Shelby Iron Works

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