Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 376
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 376
 
 
iron blast furnaces at the South were small and of antiquated construction. The fuel used was charcoal, no attempt having been made apparently to smelt the ores with coke or raw coal. In the oldest iron region, Virginia, the constant cutting of timber for a series of years had made it “alarmingly scarce.” Ore existed in pockets which were soon worked out, and many furnaces had but a “precarious supply” of it which was hauled to them for miles in wagons, “in one case as far as ten miles.” If ore was plenty, fuel was likely to be scarce or else the converse was the case. Even if both were at hand in sufficient quantity to make ten tons daily, which was considered a large product, it was impossible to feed the hands necessarily employed, who must depend on the immediate neighborhood for supplies of bread and meat, since transportation of these from a distance was out of the question. In Alabama the industry made a better showing. It was a new region; fuel and ore were abundant and food could be had. Of the “large and improved” furnaces, one owned by the Government made an average of thirteen tons daily for a month. Georgia and Tennessee were the other iron manufacturing States and, in all of them, the work was obstructed by the steady progress of the Union armies in the occupation of Southern territory. Within the year ending October 1, 1864, ten iron furnaces in Virginia, all but three in Tennessee, all in Georgia and four in Alabama had been burned by the enemy or abandoned because of his inroads. Yet in a report of November 20, 1864, it was stated that eighteen furnaces were in blast in Virginia although their work was very irregular. In return for certain privileges and assistance, the Government took one-half of the production of iron at a little above cost and had for the remaining half the preference over other purchasers. The amount of iron
 

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