The Confederate Armory, Asheville, North Carolina: It manufactured Enfield-type rifles, and in
1863 the plant was moved to Columbia, S.C.
|Asheville, North Carolina
With the outbreak of the Civil War the production of firearms extended to
the mountain region of North Carolina. In Asheville, a company owned by Col. Ephraim Clayton, Col. R. W. Pulliam, and Dr.
G. W. Whitson manufactured Enfield-style rifles. Their factory stood on the corner of Valley and Eagle Streets. Their first
products, however, were rejected as inferior by the Confederate government, which took over the facility in the fall of 1862.
Maj. Benjamin Sloan (a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point), formerly an inspector of ordnance manufactured
by the Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, was sent to Asheville to take charge of the armory, which soon began to generate superior
Though a much smaller operation than the former U.S. Arsenal in Fayetteville,
the Asheville armory was productive; and resourcefulness made up for a relative lack of machinery and equipment. Raw materials
were supplied by iron mines in Cranberry near the Tennessee line. By the spring of 1863, the armory was yielding about 300
efficient muzzle-loading rifles per month.
During the course of the war, the armory was constantly threatened with
raids by organized bands of disaffected mountaineers. The groups were encouraged and backed by disaffected citizens of East
Tennessee. Raids by Federal troops from East Tennessee were also a concern. As a consequence, the men of the armory were drilled
in infantry and artillery practice, and two Napoleon fieldpieces were brought to the site. An earthwork battery was also constructed
overlooking a nearby approach up the French Broad River.
Late in the war the plant equipment was moved to Columbia, South
Carolina, and operated until the Union army of Gen. William T. Sherman captured that city in February 1865. The armory building
itself was destroyed in 1865 when Federal troops finally entered Asheville during Stoneman's Cavalry Raid. After the war, Benjamin Sloan became a professor of mathematics and
physics (in his native state) at the University of South Carolina.
References: George W. McCoy, “Confederate Armory Here Turned Out Superior Weapons,” Asheville
Citizen-Times, January 13, 1952: F. A. Sondley, A History of Buncombe County, North Carolina (1930).
Recommended Reading: The Rifle Musket in Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth (Modern War Studies) (Hardcover:
288 pages) (University Press of Kansas: September 9, 2008). Description: The Civil War's single-shot, muzzle-loading musket
revolutionized warfare--or so we've been told for years. Noted historian Earl J. Hess forcefully challenges that claim, offering
a new, clear-eyed, and convincing assessment of the rifle musket's actual performance on the battlefield and its impact on
the course of the Civil War. Continued below...
Drawing upon the observations
and reflections of the soldiers themselves, Hess offers the most compelling argument yet made regarding the actual use of
the rifle musket and its influence on Civil War combat. Engagingly written and meticulously researched, his book will be of
special interest to Civil War scholars, buffs, reenactors, and gun enthusiasts alike.
Civil War Firearms: Their Historical Background and Tactical Use. Description:
The popular Civil War News columnist has written a unique work, combining technical data on each Civil War firearm, an often
surprising treatment of their actual use on the battlefield, and a guide to collecting and firing surviving relics and modern
reproductions. About the Author: Joseph G. Bilby is a popular columnist for the Civil War News and a veteran of the current
Recommended Reading: Bushwhackers, The Civil War in North Carolina: The
Mountains (338 pages). Description: Trotter's book (which could have been titled "Murder, Mayhem, and Mountain Madness") is an epic backdrop
for the most horrific murdering, plundering and pillaging of the mountain communities of western North Carolina during the
state’s darkest hour—the American Civil War. Commonly referred to as Southern Appalachia, the North
Carolina and East Tennessee mountains witnessed divided loyalties in its bushwhackers
and guerrilla units. These so-called “bushwhackers” even used the conflict to settle old feuds and scores, which,
in some cases, continued well after the war ended. Continued below...
Some bushwhackers were highly organized ‘fighting
guerrilla units’ while others were a motley group of deserters and outliers, and, since most of them were residents
of the region, they were familiar with the terrain and made for a “very formidable foe.” In this work, Trotter
does a great job on covering the many facets of the bushwhackers, including their: battles, skirmishes, raids, activities,
motives, the outcome, and even the aftermath. This book is also a great source for tracing ancestors during the Civil War;
a must have for the family researcher of Southern Appalachia. "[T]he historical events that transpired in the region are brought to life in this
Recommended Reading: The
Civil War in North Carolina. Description: Numerous battles and skirmishes
were fought in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the campaigns and battles themselves were crucial
in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved some of the most famous generals of the war. John Barrett presents the
complete story of military engagements across the state, including the classical pitched battle of Bentonville--involving
Generals Johnston and Sherman--the siege of Fort Fisher, the amphibious campaigns on the coast, and cavalry sweeps such as General
Stoneman's Raid. Also available in hardcover: The Civil War in North Carolina.
FIVE STARS! Recommended
The Civil War: A Narrative, by Shelby Foote (3 Volumes Set) [BOX SET]
(2960 pages) (9.2 pounds). Review: This beautifully
written trilogy of books on the American Civil War is not only a piece of first-rate history, but also a marvelous work of
literature. Shelby Foote brings a skilled novelist's narrative power to this great epic. Many know Foote for his prominent
role as a commentator on Ken Burns's PBS series about the Civil War. These three books, however, are his legacy. His southern
sympathies are apparent: the first volume opens by introducing Confederate President Jefferson Davis, rather than Abraham
Lincoln. But they hardly get in the way of the great story Foote tells. This hefty three volume set should be on the bookshelf
of any Civil War buff. --John Miller. Continued below…
Foote's comprehensive history
of the Civil War includes three compelling volumes: Fort Sumter to Perryville, Fredericksburg
to Meridian, and Red River to Appomattox.
Collected together in a handsome boxed set, this is the perfect gift for any Civil War buff.
Fort Sumter to Perryville
"Here, for a certainty,
is one of the great historical narratives of our century, a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed
in the ranks of the masters." —Van Allen Bradley, Chicago
"Anyone who wants to relive
the Civil War, as thousands of Americans apparently do, will go through this volume with pleasure.... Years from now, Foote's
monumental narrative most likely will continue to be read and remembered as a classic of its kind." —New York Herald Tribune Book Review
Fredericksburg to Meridian
"This, then, is narrative
history—a kind of history that goes back to an older literary tradition.... The writing is superb...one of the historical
and literary achievements of our time." —The Washington
Post Book World
with such meticulous attention to action, terrain, time, and the characters of the various commanders that I understand, at
last, what happened in that battle.... Mr. Foote has an acute sense of the relative importance of events and a novelist's
skill in directing the reader's attention to the men and the episodes that will influence the course of the whole war, without
omitting items which are of momentary interest. His organization of facts could hardly be bettered." —Atlantic
River to Appomattox
"An unparalleled achievement,
an American Iliad, a unique work uniting the scholarship of the historian and the high readability of the first-class novelist."
"I have never read a better, more
vivid, more understandable account of the savage battling between Grant's and Lee's armies.... Foote stays with the human
strife and suffering, and unlike most Southern commentators, he does not take sides. In objectivity, in range, in mastery
of detail in beauty of language and feeling for the people involved, this work surpasses anything else on the subject....
It stands alongside the work of the best of them." —New Republic