Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia’s Minerals Forged the by Robert C. Whisonant

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By Robert C. Whisonant

This is a clean examine the yank Civil struggle from the point of view of the average assets essential to maintain the armies within the box. This tale of the hyperlinks among minerals, topography, and the struggle in western Virginia now involves mild in a manner that boosts our realizing of America’s maximum trial. 5 mineral items – niter, lead, salt, iron, and coal – have been completely necessary to salary warfare within the 1860s. For the armies of the South, these assets have been centred within the distant Appalachian highlands of southwestern Virginia. From the start of the battle, the Union knew that the major to victory used to be the destruction or profession of the mines, furnaces, and forges positioned there, in addition to the railroad that moved the assets to the place they have been desperately wanted. to accomplish this, Federal forces many times complex into the treacherous mountainous terrain to struggle probably the most savage battles of the warfare.

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Extra info for Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia’s Minerals Forged the Rebel War Machine

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Iron ore concentrations were fairly common in the original 13 colonies, but most of them were relatively low grade. At the same time, the seemingly endless forests offered stores of cheap wood for charcoal to fuel the smelting furnaces as demand for ferrous tools, implements, and weapons soared in the burgeoning communities, especially along the frontier. New furnaces and forges appeared at a fast pace and the technology of manufacture improved accordingly. Colonists in Pennsylvania made steel in 1732, turned out cannon balls in 1737, and cast cannon for General George Washington’s Continental Army in 1776.

Among the employees of the Bureau were brothers John and Joseph LeConte, and Nathaniel Pratt, all turning out geological maps as part of their work. Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, one of the highest peaks in eastern North America, recognizes the pioneering work of Joseph (and, some think, John as well) on the geology of the southern Appalachian Mountains. In spite of the Niter and Mining Bureau’s best efforts, the domestic minerals industry never reached its full potential, but not because the raw materials weren’t there—they were, and in great quantities.

With an absence of resistant rocks to create hills or ridges, the ground surface eroded onto the loose detritus displays few differences between the highest and lowest points. Fig. 3 Map of the geologic and physiographic provinces of Virginia. ”) in the northwestern section Geologic History and the Formation of Topographic Provinces 25 Water does not drain readily off this nearly flat terrain, therefore bogs, swamps, and rivers prone to frequent flooding abound. The Coastal Plain extends west from the Atlantic shoreline to its boundary with the Piedmont, a junction known as the Fall Line.

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