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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Richmond, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Gun Foundry

 
 
The Gun Foundry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 3, 2009
1. The Gun Foundry Marker
Inscription. This building was built in 1861 to cast cannons for the Confederate Government. One of the reasons Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy was its ability to produce arms, clothing, paper, and other essentials for the Confederate government, army, and navy. Tredegar had produced cannons, ordnance and other iron products for the U.S. Army and Navy before the Civil War, and this effort was applied to Confederate contracts once Virginia seceded.

The Civil War at Tredegar
Joseph Reid Anderson, the head of Tredegar, was given control of coal mines near Richmond and blast furnaces in western Virginia to maintain his flow of raw materials. He also reopened the Virginia Manufactory of Arms building, a state armory built between 1798 and 1810 for arms making. Another close-by arms production facility was the Confederate “laboratory” on Brown’s Island, where white women loaded cartridges for small arms. An explosion at the facility killed thirty women in 1863.

The 12 Pound Howitzer Gun
The gun you see here was cast in the Tredegar Foundry, 7 January 1862, and was designated gun number 1432. The Civil War records of Tredegar outline their production of guns, ordnance, and other vital material.

(sidebar)
The Civil War gun foundry had two large exterior air furnaces
Air Furnace image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 3, 2009
2. Air Furnace
operating on a single stack. Coal and iron were loaded into the furnace, and the heat from the burning coal was carried over the iron by the air draft, melting it. Then the molten iron was tapped on the interior side of the wall and flowed down a trough into molds in the floor of the foundry.
 
Location. 37° 32.119′ N, 77° 26.711′ W. Marker is in Richmond, Virginia. Marker can be reached from Tredegar Street 0.1 miles west of South 5th Street. Click for map. This marker is located outside the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 Tredegar Street, Richmond VA 23219, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Enterprise and Iron (a few steps from this marker); Joseph Reid Anderson (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cupola Furnace and Foundry (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Visitor Center (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tredegar Iron Works (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Tredegar Iron Works (within shouting distance of this marker); Toledo 1000-ton Press (within shouting distance of this marker); Overshot Waterwheel (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
More about this marker.
The Gun Foundry Stack image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 3, 2009
3. The Gun Foundry Stack
On the upper left is a period photograph of the "Confederate Laboratories at Brown’s Island."

On the lower left are two photos of the foundry prior to restoration. The caption reads, "Ethyl Corporation restored this building in the 1970’s, rebuilding the whole south wall, the stack, and recreating the furnaces on the north side. The restoration of the foundry shows the deep commitment to the history of the Civil War era that has defined Richmond’s civic history. Much of the iron had to be recast, including furnace doors, using new wooden patterns."

On the right is a painting of the foundry interior showing the cannon casting process.
 
Also see . . .
1. The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works. Richmond National Battlefield Park (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWar, US Civil
 
The Gun Foundry image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 3, 2009
4. The Gun Foundry
Home of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, November 3, 2009
5. Home of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar
Tredegar Iron Works - exterior view showing gabled end of structure. image. Click for full size.
By Jack Boucher, 1971
6. Tredegar Iron Works - exterior view showing gabled end of structure.
"Vacant and fire-ridden, the several structures that housed the mills and foundries remain in various stages of ruin, and a majority of the large rooms required for operating of the foundry stand open to the sky." Library of Congress [HAER VA,44-RICH,104-1]
The Gun Foundry at Tredegar Iron Works image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Gardner, Apr 1865
7. The Gun Foundry at Tredegar Iron Works
Library of Congress [LC-USZC4-7968]
View of the Foundry Site Today image. Click for full size.
By David Tatum Jr, January 8, 2003
8. View of the Foundry Site Today
The Gun Foundry Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Tatum Jr, January 8, 2007
9. The Gun Foundry Marker
A view of the Foundry form the Construction Tower Crane
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,480 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   8, 9. submitted on , by David Tatum Jr of Suffolk, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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