The Krupp of the Confederacy: the Tredegar Iron Works

Breeden, James O, Department of History, University of Virginia
Younger, Edward, University of Virginia
Hall, Claude H., University of Virginia

The history of the Tredegar Iron Works during the Civil War is a story of patriotism and complete devotion to public service. Joseph Reid Anderson realized the unique position of his establishment even before the outset of the war. He viewed Tredegar's position not as an opportunity to make money selling ordnance but as an opportunity to be of real assistance in a cause in which he believed and wanted to help succeed. The leaders of the infant Southern Confederacy recognized the importance of Tredegar at once and took immediate steps to exploit it. Some Civil War historians feel the Tredegar Iron Works was one factor for making Richmond the capital of the Confederacy.
Until April 1861, Tredegar was not entirely available to the Confederacy because Virginia had not seceded. In the period before the secession of Virginia, however, Tredegar was busy helping the individual southern states arm for the rapidly approaching conflict. Once Virginia withdrew from the Union Anderson devoted his establishment's entire capacity to the Confederacy and faithfully served it until the close of the war in April 1865. During this four year period Tredegar furnished the Confederate forces almost 1100 cannon, vast quantities of shot and shell, rolled iron plating for Confederate ironclads, cast iron for all the Confederate Government's auxiliary departments, served as a scientific headquarters for the Confederacy, secured its own raw materials and provisions, operated a tannery, farm, fleet of canal boats, blockade runners, and iron furnaces, and maintained its own labor force. Mainly owing to the efforts of the Tredegar Iron Works, the domestic output of heavy ordnance was more considerable than that of small arms in Government arsenals. Soldiers had a certain confidence in Tredegar's war products that was generally justified.

MA (Master of Arts)
American Civil War, Tredegar Iron Works

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:34:14.

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: