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Original Letter Fron Colonel Josiah Gorgas Dated July 18 1863 Vicksburg Ordnance For Sale
The item listed is a letter from Colonel Gorgus of the Confederate States of Americas Ordnance Department concerning arms captures and procured at Vicksburg. The following is a littl history on Gorgus and his importance for the Confederate Cause.
Josiah Gorgas was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. He was graduated from West Point in 1841 and was assigned to the Ordnance Department. He served in the Mexican-American War and was promoted to captain in 1855. In 1853, he married Amelia Gayle, daughter of former Alabama governor John Gayle.
Gorgas served in arsenals in different parts of the country before the Civil War broke out. Early in his career, Gorgas served at Watervliet Arsenal near Troy, New York, and at the Detroit Arsenal. Following the Mexican-American War, Gorgas served in Pennsylvania and in November 1851 was transferred to Fort Monroe in Virginia. There he began his association with the Tredegar Iron Company, which would become an important Southern foundry once the Civil War began. Gorgas went on to serve at the Mount Vernon Arsenal north of Mobile, Alabama beginning in 1853. He was commanding the Frankford Arsenal when he resigned from the United States Army on March 21, 1861 (effective April 3).
Having made the decision to secede, apparently motivated as much because of professional conflicts as by political principle, he moved to Richmond and became Chief of Ordnance for the Confederacy with the rank of Major. Having served in nearly every arsenal in the nation he was the perfect choice for the position. In this capacity, he worked to create an armaments industry almost from scratch. The South had no foundry except the Tredegar Iron Works. There were no rifle works except small arsenals in Richmond, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, plus the captured machines from the Union armory in Harpers Ferry.
In the procurement of arms Gorgas also corresponded with Charles Prioleau who headed Trenholm's Liverpool office, arranging for the shipping of arms and other supplies to the Confederacy. Most of the arms sent to the Confederacy departed from Liverpool. During the summer of 1861 Gorgas stockpiled supplies and prepared his first load of cargo while Trenholm company procured a suitable ship for the voyage. A 1,200 ton iron-hulled steamer, the Bermuda, was chosen to make the voyage.
Gorgas established armories and foundries, found alternative sources for saltpeter, and created a huge gunpowder mill at the Augusta Arsenal. Thanks to his efforts, the Southern armies never lacked weapons, though they were short on almost everything else. On November 10, 1864, Gorgas was promoted to brigadier general.
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Original Letter Fron Colonel Josiah Gorgas Dated July 18 1863 Vicksburg Ordnance: $350