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Confederate CitiesThe Urban South during the Civil War Era$
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Andrew L. Slap and Frank Towers

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226300177

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226300344.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 February 2020

Freeing the Lavish Hand of Nature

Freeing the Lavish Hand of Nature

Environment and Economy in Nineteenth-Century Hampton Roads

(p.261) Chapter Eleven Freeing the Lavish Hand of Nature
Confederate Cities

John Majewski

University of Chicago Press

The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is blessed with one of the best deep water anchorages in the world. Before the Civil War, though, Hampton Roads failed to realize the ambitious economic goals of its boosters. The acidic soils the region discouraged the growth of densely populated hinterlands that could support industry, commerce and urban growth. A yellow fever epidemic in 1855, which killed more than 3,000 residents, further undermined business confidence and deterred emigration. The Civil War helped unleash the economic potential of Hampton Roads. After the war, northern capitalists poured tens of millions of dollars into new railroads, new steamships, new dock facilities, and new cities. These technological innovations allowed Hampton Roads to escape the confines of its sparsely-settled hinterland to realize the commercial ambitions of their early boosters.

Keywords:   Norfolk, Portsmouth, Hampton Roads, soils, yellow fever, railroads, coal, cotton

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