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Josiah Gorgas (American National Biography)

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Frank E. Vandiver, "Gorgas, Josiah," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-01181.html.
When the Civil War came, Captain Gorgas commanded Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Asked to join the Confederacy, Gorgas hesitated, but his wife's influence and his continuing troubles with superiors pushed him at last to accept a commission (effective 8 Apr. 1861) as major in the artillery of the Confederate states with assignment to the important duty of chief of ordnance. General P. G. T. Beauregard, who knew him slightly, had urged his appointment on President Jefferson Davis. The appointment would be one of Davis's best.

Gorgas's challenges were staggering. The South boasted scant manufacturing facilities, only one large foundry capable of casting heavy cannon (in Richmond, Va.), and although each state had an armory, arsenals capable of repairing or making arms were few. Across the Confederacy Gorgas counted only 159,010 small arms of all kinds, about 3.2 million cartridges of various calibers, powder enough for another 1.5 million bullets, and an indeterminate amount of cannon powder. Close to 3 million percussion caps were counted, along with saltpeter and sulphur enough to make an additional 200 tons of powder. Supplies were scattered across different states, and governors tended to guard their hoards with parochial jealousy.

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How to Cite This Page: "Josiah Gorgas (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/24091.