Industry & Economics

NPS Primary Theme: Both North and South mobilized industry to an unprecedented degree. Industrial mobilization in the South represented a manifold increase over its pre-war capacity. Northern industry mobilized to conduct a war designed not just to defend Union territory, but to invade the South, defeat Confederate armies, and occupy Southern territory—a huge and unprecedented task that required all of the resources the North could muster.

NPS Subtheme: The mobilization of both Northern and Southern industry in support of the war was a dramatic indication to the world of America’s industrial potential—and a foreshadow of the decisive role American industry would play in shaping the political, economic, and military realities of the 20th Century.

NOTE: Please use the comments section below to chronicle your progress with this theme throughout the remaining weeks of the course. Begin by outlining how your group decided to work with the theme (e.g., assigning one theme to one person or dividing themes up between team members) and then outline in detail, at least once each week, the work that you have done toward crafting your three podcast proposals.


14 Responses to Industry & Economics

  1. Doug K-C says:

    After hearing back from Robt. Krick at Richmond, I was a little concerned that there might not be many tangibles around the slave economy at the site. After doing a bit more poking around, I discovered a pretty good NPS page on”Richmond’s African American Heritage.” My fears have washed away at this point.

    The page details quite a few locations from the National Register of Historic Places that are relevant tot he African American Experience in Richmond. As the site states, “many are within the boundaries of the Jackson Ward Historic District, which the Secretary of the Interior designated a National Historic Landmark because of its nationally significant associations with African American history. ” The site provides a great tour of locations around the city, and features one of the tangibles I was already set on focusing on, the Tredegar Iron Works, which used a significant number of slaves to forge Confederate weapons. Also, the site features information on the Tobacco Row Historic District, which has maintained tobacco factory buildings that used a large amount of slave labor to support that industry.

    In addition, the page also details historic sites in Richmond that were important to Black History after the Civil War, as many newly freed slaves moved to Richmond after Emancipation.

    All in all it was a good find, and has provided a number of tangibles for my sub theme which had been a bit of a perplexing puzzle before this “discovery.”

    Please view the page here, as it is certainly a good read:

  2. Doug K-C says:

    My progress this week has been limited to refining the below drafts, and dropping some more secondary sources in them (which I will not post at this point, as to avoid the need for added scrolling for minor content addition).

    I have also do some more searching for specific tangibles to flesh out that section of the podcasts. The primary documents/ artifacts that are available on the web is a staggering number, and there seems to be plenty to choose from. Springfield Armory specifically has so much stuff available. Their search engine is a bit clunky, but taking the advice of Ed Sanders, I was able to find a ton of tangibles with this system.

    In addition, I received a reply from Robt. Krick at the Richmond resource, and he had some helpful tips. Unfortunately there are not many tangibles related to slavery at Richmond, so we will see what evolves from that. He said they discuss the construction that slaves did in Richmond, but that there are no physical tangibles of this legacy. But obviously, slavery is too important of a sub-theme to leave out of a production about the southern economy (or from any of our podcasts for that matter).

    The work continues…

  3. Doug K-C says:

    ***Incomplete DRAFT***

    [Footnotes are not an option on wordpress. Citations available upon request]

    Industry and Economics Springfield


    1) Industrialization,

    2) Inflation, Debt, National Consequences,

    3) Capitalist Profiteering (still looking for a better term, but I think you can see where this theme may lie)

    “The Union army eventually became the best-fed and best-supplied military force in history.”

    Once the Civil War began, the population of workers at the Springfield Armory jumped from 200 to 2,600 men. 25% of the city’s population was involved in producing arms during the war. The conflict was a huge boom to the local economy, as auxiliary enterprises emerged around the armory.

    On August 5th, 1861, for the first time in our nation’s history, a federal income tax was introduced. Until the activity was abolished by the act of 1870, local newspapers would publish lists of taxpayers and the amount of income they reported in their pages. The tax was seen as a temporary measure, a war tax, and indeed it was, for a few years after the suspension of hostilities, the income tax was abolished. It had been regarded as a fairly effective measure to raise funds for the conflict, for as on economic historian had noted, “An income tax has the considerable advantage of being responsive to the influences of patriotism, which are certain to be strong whenever a serious war is undertaken by a democratic country.” Alas, if only such a notion were felt by the taxpayers of today…

    A new economic system emerged as well. Before the war, states issued their own paper currencies, and a financial system was in place that was chaotic and non-standardized. No longer. The federal government issued a new currency, called “greenbacks,” and created a nationalized banking system, which was required to purchase government bonds. It was a good choice, for in order to fund the war, the Union borrowed an unprecedented two billion dollars through bond debt.

    Rapid economic growth became something of a national dogma. With Southern representatives out of the legislature, acts and laws could be past that just a few years ago would have faced deadlock and stagnation. Perhaps a reflection of the magnitude of the importance of the bill, the Homestead Act, which gave 160 acres of free land to western settlers, was in effect on January 1st, 1863 – the same day as the Emancipation Proclamation. The Civil War is often remembered as the conflict that freed the slaves, but perhaps it is just as important to remember that this conflict propelled the economy of the United States to unparalleled heights, and the nation that emerged was poised to be an economic dynamo, and indeed, a world power.

    “Nourished by wartime inflation and government contracts, the profits of industry boomed.” Those who were poised to benefit from wartime production capitalized greatly off of this domestic dispute. Called “captains of industry,” the names of those enriched by the bloodshed are still powerful and memorable in today’s era. Phillip Armour supplied beef to the army, Andrew Carnegie sold the foundries steel and iron to make the guns, John D. Rockefeller’s oil helped fuel the war machine, Jay Gould and J.P. Morgan were wartime “financers.” These men made great profits, and built huge corporations off of the conflict and the money that seemed to rise from the battlefield like so much smoke and stench. Indeed, the best fed and best supplied army in the world was shoveling cash and debt to these men with a quickening pace. It was a war of attrition, and as more men went south to be maimed or killed, they marched in brand new boots, wearing brand new uniforms, shouldering brand new guns, all quickly cranked out on wartime contracts, and these “captains of industry” were more than happy to supply brand new recruits in this macabre cycle. The more men that died, the more new uniforms were needed to supply their replacements. Death was revenue. It is difficult to discern the line between patriotism and profiteering.


    Some Tangibles [Note- The NPS site was giving me some grief, so I chose to save these links as bing archive/ scrren shots.]

    Personalized Weapons -This would be a great tangible for “Capitalist Profiteering,” or whatever the final denotation of that intangible will be. In a war of attrition, many soldiers need many rifles.,1347aa5d

    The next two will be great for displaying the vast industrialization changes that took place in our country pre/during/and post Civil War.



    Who doesn’t Love Dioramas!,a2762db8

  4. Doug K-C says:


    Industry and Economics C&O Canal


    1) Transportation
    2) Slavery
    3) Strategic Significance of the Canal

    At almost 185 miles in length, the canal itself is a compelling tangible object to help explore this theme of transportation and industrialization and the movement of agricultural goods in our country. Modernization and mechanization of the United States can be connected to at this resource.

    Construction of the canal began on July 4th, 1828 when President John Quincy Adams tried to insert his shovel into the hard rock laden soil that comprised the make up of the path the canal was to follow. Called “The Great National Project,” the canal was indeed an engineering wonder with bridges and arches, 7 dams that regulate water to the canal, 74 lift locks and a brick lined tunnel over 3,000 feet long. The canal was a testament to American ingenuity, technical skill, and backbreaking labor provided by a myriad of immigrants, and indeed, slave labor.

    Slavery was vital in the construction of various phases of the canal. An interesting document readily available on the web is a July 1830 receipt for the services of a slave named Reign, who was employed by the Army Corps of Engineers as an axeman at the rate of 87 and a half cent per day. Perhaps the more correct terminology is that his owner was paid the 87 and a half cents a day for Reign’s labor.

    Ferry Hill Plantation is another tangible that would offer the connection of the visitor to the “peculiar institution” that was allowed to survive in the Border States. Located in West Virginia, this was a working plantation that was maintained by John Blackford’s slaves. [A copy of John Blackford’s journal is located here Episodic moments on a plantation can be found in its pages.] In 1833, Blackford sold 41 acres to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company.

    In 1861, the Douglas family lived at the plantation, and the son of the family, Henry Kyd Douglas, enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy. The Union Army looked at the Douglas’ with distrust, and were held under house arrest for most of the year, and in addition to other restrictions, were ordered to keep the shutters shut. When one of the shutters blew open in a storm, the Union soldiers felt that the family was trying to signal Confederate saboteurs. Reverend Douglas was arrested, but not charged with any crime, and imprisoned at Fort Henry for several months.
    NPS Study on slaves at Ferry Hill Plantation

    The C&O canal was a vital communication chain for both participants in the war. The Union moved troops, supplies and coal down the canal. The Confederates, seizing this opportunity, attacked this lifeline with the intention of disruption and sabotage. When the war came to Maryland, both sides used the towpaths as roads.

    An article from 1861 notes that dam number 5 was damaged, resulting in a skirmish that drove off rebel forces, who equipped with picks, shovels and axes, also shot 400 rounds at the dam in an attempt to destroy it. SEE ALSO

    Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee, JEB Stuart and Jubal Early all crossed the canal at various times to conduct raids or campaigns.


  5. Doug K-C says:

    I have a big chunk of my Springfield episode narrative written out (over half?), I just need to finish it up and place some tangibles in there.

    I have been in contact with the three parks, and have been sent some great links from Springfield and Cand O Canal (see Ahna’s post above). I am looking forward to digging in these a bit more for some refining and finishing touches.

    At this point, I am finding that I am jumping right into a narrative, rather than a strict outline. As I find “facts,” my writing process is to note them down (with footnotes) in a sensible progression, and something like an outline quickly moves to a skeleton. A narrative is just a bit of commentary and interpretation away. I hope this is ok, as I am concerned that Park Staff may want something a bit more skeletal to work with…

    But my tactic now is to just go with the creativity, and let the “final” product deliver its own merits or shortcomings. That is what the final edit is for, I guess…

  6. Doug K-C says:

    ***Draft Podcast***

    (I sure do wish my FOOTNOTES would show up on wordpress! “Citations available upon request”)

    Industry and Economics – Richmond


    Slaves. Southern economic stability, indeed, southern opulence in the antebellum period was uniquely linked to the “peculiar institution.”

    Just before the Civil War, about 4 million slaves lived and toiled in the United States, about one third of the population of the South. Cotton was the cash crop of the United States; in fact, it represented well over half of the value of all American exports. The South, through the labor of slaves, grew the cotton, and prepared it for export, or transportation to Northern factories that were booming from the manufacture of textiles and the merchants who sold the finished goods. Many rich Northern men had their fortunes built on this labor of bondage.

    The cost of slaves was significant, and the price for these people fluctuated, but generally rose over time. As a morbid example, the average price in Georgia for what was termed as an average slave, was $1200 in 1853, $1650 in 1859, and rose to $1800 in 1860. The cost of maintaining a slave, with clothing, food, medical care, taxes and supervision could cost from $20 to $50 per year. In cotton production, a return of 5 to 12% could be expected, excluding climactic calamity, so in a raw economic sense, the “peculiar institution” was quite profitable to the South as a society.

    But to leave the discussion at slaves and plantations, and the resultant cotton that was gathered in oh so many bales would be a disservice to history. The conversation is not so binary, and the situation is much more complex. Indeed the South was defined by agriculture, and slave labor was deemed as necessary to support such an economic framework. But other industries were in place, and other forms of production were paramount to the financial well being of the southern states.

    Soon after the attack on Fort Sumter, on April 19, 1861 Lincoln ordered a naval blockade on Southern ports, to deny the Confederates opportunities for trade. At that time, the Federal Navy had only 90 boats to patrol the 3,500 mile coastline, and less than half of this flotilla was steam powered.

    The Confederate chief of the Ordinance Bureau, Josiah Gorgas, was a transplant from the north has been called “brilliantly resourceful” in supplying the Rebels. Under his three part plan, the Confederate states were able to import weapons from Europe, scavenge weapons from the battlefield, and develop their own arsenals to forge rifles, cannon and munitions. His success has been called “phenomenal, and it has been noted that during the entire conflict, even when the Confederates suffered from a lack of uniforms, shoes and food, they never were want for more weapons. He has been called the best administrator of the Confederate government, and the Industry in the South was a product of his shrewd supervision. With his participation in the administration here in Richmond, he was a valued, if unsung asset to the Rebel Cause. It is due to his oversight that even though Lee’s forces had not eaten in three days leading up to their surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, each infantryman had 75 rounds of ammunition.

    Gorgas was able to trade cotton to European nations for guns, ammunition and metals and other elements for weapons manufacture. In order to defeat the blockade, he commissioned a fleet of blockade runners, fast shallow draft ships that could carry cargo swiftly and stealthily past Union Naval patrols. These vessels would take cotton to Cuba or the Bahamas, where it was transferred to neutral flag ships that would take the cotton on to Europe. The blockade runners would have their holds filled with weapons, foodstuffs or European manufactured goods – all deemed “contraband” by the Union blockade, and then return with these goods to Southern ports. The trade was swift and regular, and extremely profitable for the European merchants and island middlemen. It could also be quite timely, as is evidenced in the delivery of nine hundred barrels of gun powder at Wilmington, North Carolina just in time for the battle of Shiloh. [Encyclopedia Virginia has a wonderful entry on Josiah Gorgas here

    This operation was hugely successful. Part of the successes was due to the poor state of the Union Navy at the onset of the war. With the resignation of so many Southern officers on the eve of the war, the Union Navy was in shambles, and the initial months of the blockade have been termed as the “paper blockade.” Ultimately, the Union was able to deploy 600 vessels to battle the blockade runners, which usually only made 3 or 4 runs, but there are records indicating that some of these swift ships made up to eighteen forays. If they were captured by the Federal Naval forces, the Confederate blockade runners were treated as prisoners of war provided they had offered no resistance. If they had put up any resistance to the Union Navy, and fired even a single shot during the chase, this was considered an act of piracy on the high seas, and the death penalty was applied if any blood was shed. Yet in an act that some could consider reminiscent of the privateers and the Golden Age of Piracy, captured Confederate ships were considered prizes, and the vessels and cargo were auctioned, with the Union sailors each awarded a portion of the proceeds. Often taken to Union held Key West for auction, some of the blockade runners eventually ended up back in Confederate service, having been purchased from the Union auction. The Dart for example, was captured by Union forces twice during the war running the blockade.

    The legacy of the Blockade Runners as indeed drawn a parallel to the romanticism associated with piracy and period verse like the following only help to strengthen that mysticism:

    “Stand firmly by your cannon, Let ball and grape-shot fly, And trust in God and Davis, But keep your powder dry.”
    [John Wilkinson’s The Narrative of a Blockade Runner can be found here The US Navy has a list of Ships of the Confederate Navy, including several blockade runners, with descriptions, unit histories and some illustrations here ]

    Richmond, in fact was selected as the capital of the Confederacy, in some part, due to Tredegar’s “irreplaceable value to the fledgling nation.” The Rebels were able to eventually produce over 2000 cannon of their own manufacture, and about half of these were fabricated at the Tredegar Iron Works. But the foundry was constantly plagued by supply problems. Innovations were implemented, such as a switch from using copper to iron for cannon when vital copper mines were captured by Union forces in Ducktown in November of 1863, but ultimately the Tredegar was unable to produce the armaments necessary to continue the was against the Northern armies.

    Slavery played some role in the industrial labor of the south, but it was more commonly in endeavors more closely related to agricultural products, such as rice mills or hemp rope manufacturing. As early as the mid-1840s, slaves were used in the iron works. In fact, Richmond was one of the few cities in the South to successfully use slaves in factories, and the Tredegar Iron Works has the unusual distinction of being the first factory in Richmond to introduce this policy. In fact, some accounts state that the majority of the labor force in the iron works were enslaved. The use of slaves over free labor realized a labor cost savings of about 12 percent. Factory head John Anderson even demanded that white workers instruct the slaves to perform highly skilled functions. Those who refused were fired.

    When Richmond finally fell to Union forces, Tredegar Iron Works raised a “battalion” of workers who surrounded the facility to save it from the looting and vandalism that swept through the city in a fiery frenzy. Union soldiers occupied the iron works, but after a pardon by President Johnson, the facility was transferred by to John Anderson. He kept many former slaves under his employ, and paid them the same wages as whites, and offered the same opportunities for advancement. He refused, however, to hire Northerners.


  7. Pingback: Update on Responses & Example of Support for Our Work | Interpreting the American Civil War

  8. Ahna Wilson says:

    Hey there,

    I’m the Historian at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and I received your email regarding your project. I wanted to let you know that some of our historic resources, including Harlan Unrau’s Historic Resource Study of the C&O Canal, can be found on a partner website :

    The Unrau study has a section about the C&O Canal during the Civil War and includes a good deal about the industries along the canal that were affected by the war. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions!

  9. Doug K-C says:

    This week I have been attempting to do some deeper research on economic conditions during the Civil War. I have the following journal articles in hand (JSTOR search results), and have been reading through some of them:

    The Post-Bellum Recovery of the South and the Cost of the Civil War
    Peter Temin, The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Dec., 1976)

    The Civil War Income Tax
    The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Jul., 1894), pp. 491-502

    Real Wages in the North during the Civil War: Mitchell’s Data Reinterpreted: Reuben A. Kessel and Armen A. Alchian, Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 2 (Oct., 1959),

    Turning Points in the Civil War: Views from the Greenback Market
    Kristen L. Willard, Timothy W. Guinnane, Harvey S. Rosen, The American Economic Review, Vol. 86, No. 4 (Sep., 1996), pp. 1001-1018

    Job Busting at Baltimore Shipyards: Racial Violence in the Civil War-Era South, Frank Towers, The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 66, No. 2 (May, 2000), pp. 221-256

    Did the Civil War Retard Industrialization?, Thomas C. Cochran, The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Sep., 1961)

    The Civil War: A Catalyst of Agricultural Revolution Wayne D. Rasmussen, Agricultural History, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Oct., 1965), pp. 187-195

    And my trusty standby is my US HST 202 text, Eric Foner’s “Give Me Liberty; An American History”

    I have begun working on my outline for this section as well, and am deep into Richmond.

  10. Greg Shine says:

    Doug, if you’re interested in talking with others re: swapping parks, you probably are just talking to yourself by commenting here. 😉

    I’d suggest commenting on the assignment post rather than here on your specific thematic page, especially if you’re seeking input from others. Also, e-mail might be a good medium, too.

    (And yes, that is quite a tangible!)

  11. Doug K-C says:

    Am I just talking to myself here?

    It seems that Richmond may be available, so I might want to switch out Natchez for the Richmond site. I think Richmond would give a deeper complexity to the issue than just “plantation” or what not. Embargo, Confederate/European Diplomacy, the Blockade, Southern Industry could all be explore at this site.

    On the other hand, if I need to stick with Natchez, I would get to feature this cool humidor (I think Professor Shine would call it a “tangible…”).,SPECIFIC=19954,DATABASE=objects,ORDERBY=CATNAM,LISTIDC=/NATC/BROWSER.IDC,RECORDMAX=50,RECNO=61,WORDS=m14

  12. Doug K-C says:

    Sites to base a series of podcasts around Industry/ Economics:

    Springfield Armory

    C&O Canal

    Natchez (specifically Melrose)

  13. Pingback: Parks to Illustrate CW150 Themes: A Preliminary List | Interpreting the American Civil War

  14. Doug K-C says:

    My group members are each taking one topic to “own,” and then two members are each dividing another.

    I have read the section of the NPS guide on this topic.

    After reviewing the suggested sites, I definitely think that the podcast should focus on the Springfield Armory, National Historic Site, MA

    “The First and Last National Armory”

    “Pioneering small arms manufacture and mass production techniques, the Springfield Armory helped shape the course of the Industrial Revolution in the United States.”

    This site would be very conducive to sounds of machinery, industry and other such audio highlights. I also feel that it would be a wonderful setting to help describe the industrial differences between the North and South, and even highlighting the difference in the production of guns between the two aggressors. The embargo/ blockade would be a fantastic item to highlight, and an exploration into the diplomacy that was executed on both sides to gain or deny the introduction of European arms into the Confederacy.

    Random Webness That Relates to the Topic:

    Depictions of slavery in Confederate Currency:

    A slew and a half of links to Economics of Civil War sites:

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