Confederate Armory

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Confederate Armory

The Confederate Armory, Asheville, North Carolina: It manufactured Enfield-type rifles, and in 1863 the plant was moved to Columbia, S.C.

Confederate Armory
Confederate Armory.jpg
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 weapons.
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.

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Related Reading:

Recommended Reading: 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 69th Regiment.


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 study."
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FIVE STARS! Recommended Reading: 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…

Product Description:

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 Daily News

"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 of the historical and literary achievements of our time." —The Washington Post Book World

" described 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

Red 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." —Walker Percy

"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

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