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Armament & Supplies

Photograph of Captured Guns, Richmond VAThe Civil War introduced the first metallic rifle and pistol cartridges, the first repeating rifles and carbines, the first ironclad ships, and many other inventions that heralded a change in warfare. When war broke out, the Confederacy captured most of their artillery from local Federal forts and armories, such as the Harpers Ferry Armory. They also established several arsenals and munitions works in Selma, Alabama; Atlanta Rolling Mills, Atlanta, Georgia; Leeds & Company, New Orleans, Louisiana; Fayetteville Arsenal, Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond, Virginia.

The Union also had a ready supply of munitions at the beginning of the war from Federal forts and armories. The bulk of the munitions made for the Union were produced at the Watertown Arsenal, Watertown, Massachusetts; Watervliet Arsenal, West Troy, New York; Allegheny Arsenal, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the Washington Arsenal, Washington, D.C.

How to Search the Catalogs:

Conduct a keyword or subject search heading in the catalog using the following examples of Library of Congress subject headings.

Confederate States of America Army Equipment and supplies
Confederate States of America Army Firearms
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865 Equipment and supplies
Virginia Auditing Board
Virginia Commissary Dept.
Virginia History Civil War, 1861-1865 Equipment and supplies
Virginia Ordnance Dept.
Virginia Quartermaster's Dept.

Selected Published Resources

Coates, Earl J., and Dean S. Thomas. An Introduction to Civil War Small Arms. Gettysburg, Pa.: Thomas Publications, 1990.

Dew, Charles B. Ironmaker to the Confederacy: Joseph R. Anderson and the Tredegar Iron Works. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966; 2nd ed. Richmond: Library of Virginia, 1999.

Lord, Francis A. Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole, 1963.

Ripley, Warren. Artillery and Ammunition of the Civil War. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1970.

Whisker, James B. U.S. and Confederate Arms and Armories during the American Civil War.4 vols. Lewiston, N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 2002–2003.

Selected Manuscript Collections

Confederate State of America. Bureau of Ordnance. Letter Book, 24 December 1862–31 May 1864. Accession 20091.
Letter Book, 24 December 186231 May 1864, contains copies of letters sent to Josiah Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, and other officers attached to the Bureau of Ordnance; commanding officers of other armories and arsenals; business and industrial firms; state military authorities; the commandant of conscripts of North Carolina; slave owners; the Niter and Mining Bureau; and enrolling, ordnance, and quartermaster officers. It also contains reports on works done, orders to armory personnel, a record of furloughs, statements of money received and expended, lists of workers, and statements of wages and personnel. Originally a private arms factory, the Asheville Armory was taken over by the Confederate government in November 1862 and used to manufacture rifles. Activities were suspended at Asheville in December 1863, and all machinery was moved to the Columbia, S.C., Armory.

Letter of Samuel F. Jordan to Comdr. George MinorJordan Family. Collection, 17521992. Accession 42492. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Collection, 1752–1992, of business records and personal papers of the Jordan family of Buena Vista and Lexington, and Rockbridge County, Virginia. The bulk of the collection spans the years 1830–1930, and documents the business activities of Samuel Francis Jordan (1805–1872), and his son Charles Francis Jordan (1837–1922), and the family's iron-manufacturing enterprises, and saddle and harness making business. Includes a large group of letters between Jordan and the Nitre and Mining Bureau; receipts for pig iron delivered to the Confederate States iron yard, and the Nitre and Mining Bureau during the Civil War; and accounts and receipts related to the hiring of hands, and the advertising and apprehending of runaway slaves.

Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad. Records, 18341997. Accession, 36460. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Records, 1834–1997, of the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad, comprising administrative, legal, financial, and some technical records, as well as photographs, a few broadsides, and some plans and drawings. In addition to Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Company records, the collection includes documentation of twenty-one additional companies. Some are wholly owned subsidiaries, others were merged into Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac, or are predecessor companies of those that merged with the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac. Yet another group of companies was affiliated through a partial ownership of interest. During the Civil War, Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac operated largely in the service of the Confederate States Army. The damage inflicted to equipment, tracks, bridges, and buildings was considerable.

Tredegar Iron WorksTredegar Iron Works. Records, 18011957 (bulk 1870–1945). Accession 23881. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Records, 1801–1957 (bulk 1870–1945), of the Tredegar Iron Works Company of Richmond, Virginia, including checkbooks, contract books, correspondence, daybooks, deeds, inventories, insurance policies, journals, ledgers, minute books, payroll ledgers, patents, sales books, time books, vouchers, and War Department contracts. Series have been designated for Administrative Records, General Accounts, Production and Labor Records, Purchase and Receiving Records, Sales and Shipping Records, Correspondence: Incoming, Correspondence: Outgoing, and Anderson Family Papers. Of note are records detailing guns produced for the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, the use of slave labor, armor plates made for the CSS Virginia, and pig iron receipt books. The records document the history of one of the most important and largest iron-making factories in Virginia and the Confederacy.

Virginia. Auditing Board. Harpers Ferry Armory. Accounts, 1861. Accession 38921. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Accounts, 1861, of the Harpers Ferry Armory contain accounts, affidavits, correspondence, extracts from Federal rolls, payrolls, powers of attorney, and receipts related to the settlement of accounts by the Auditing Board. The accounts include both those to the Confederate States of America and the State of Virginia.

Virginia. Commissary Department. Records of the Commissary Department, 1861–1862. Accession 39224. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Records, 18611862, relating to expenses incurred by the Virginia Commissary Department and arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the Commissary Officer who submitted these accounts to the Auditing Board for examination and approval. Included are accounts current, property returns, provision returns, abstracts of provisions, abstracts of contingencies, vouchers, and other sundry items.

Payroll of Workmen Engaged in the VA Ordnance DepartmentVirginia. Ordnance Department. Records of the Ordnance Department, 1861–1864. Accession 38943. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Records, 1861–1864, relating to expenses incurred by the Virginia Ordnance Department, submitted to the Auditing Board by Colonel Charles Dimmock (1800–1863), Colonel of Ordnance, and later by Colonel J. S. Shriver. Contains abstracts, vouchers, payrolls, correspondence, inspection certificates, and a report.

Virginia. Quartermaster's Department. Records of the Quartermaster's Department, 1861–1864. Accession 39376. (Click Here for Finding Aid)
Records, 1861–1864, predominantly between 1861 and 1863, relating to expenses incurred by the Virginia Quartermaster's Department for the defense of the commonwealth. The records are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the officer who submitted these accounts to the Auditing Board for examination and approval. Within each quartermasters' records, the accounts are arranged in chronological order by year and then by quarter. Included are abstracts of expenses, accounts current, correspondence, payrolls, property returns, abstracts of provisions, receipts, vouchers, and other sundry items.