Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 375
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 375
 
 
utilize the rich deposits of iron ore and the abundance of coking coal in many of the Southern States. Everywhere is one struck with a painful scarcity of iron. In a paper read before a railroad conference in Richmond, it was suggested that the Government make a public appeal for all the cast and wrought iron scrap on the farms, in the yards and houses of citizens of the Confederacy, and that it establish a system for the collection from the country, cities, towns and villages of “broken or worn-out ploughs, plough-points, hoes, spades, axes, broken stoves, household and kitchen utensils” with promise of adequate compensation. The rails of the street railroad in Richmond were taken up to be made into armor for a gunboat. The planters of Alabama in those very regions where iron ore in abundance existed underground could not get iron enough “to make and repair their agricultural implements.” The Charleston Courier complained that a sword could not be made in the Confederacy. A remark of a Union officer after the capture of Vicksburg offended the Confederate who reports it, yet it contains a pertinent criticism of a one-sided material development. The officer, noting on the iron stairway of the Vicksburg court-house the name of a Cincinnati manufacturer moulded on it, exclaimed, “Confound the impudence of the people who thought they could whip the United States when they couldn’t even make their own staircases.” The war demand stimulated the manufacture of iron in the Confederacy; but a comparison of the iron industry at the South with that at the North under the same stimulus shows rude and early methods contrasted with a practice which, though wasteful and untechnical beside the European, did nevertheless meet the exigency of the moment and become the parent of the preëminently scientific and practical processes of the present day. The
 

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