By Robert C. Whisonant
This is a clean examine the yankee Civil conflict from the perspective of the average assets essential to hold the armies within the box. This tale of the hyperlinks among minerals, topography, and the struggle in western Virginia now involves mild in a manner that reinforces our knowing of America’s maximum trial. 5 mineral items – niter, lead, salt, iron, and coal – have been totally necessary to salary warfare within the 1860s. For the armies of the South, these assets have been targeted within the distant Appalachian highlands of southwestern Virginia. From the start of the conflict, the Union knew that the foremost to victory used to be the destruction or profession of the mines, furnaces, and forges situated there, in addition to the railroad that moved the assets to the place they have been desperately wanted. to accomplish this, Federal forces again and again complicated into the treacherous mountainous terrain to struggle the most savage battles of the warfare.
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Additional resources for Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia’s Minerals Forged the Rebel War Machine
By 1775, an amazing one-seventh of the world’s raw iron, roughly about 30,000 tons, poured forth from American furnaces and forges. Although iron-making dominated the eighteenth century American minerals industry, explorers located and exploited a variety of other metal troves. Several colonies produced copper, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Connecticut mines also generated silver, lead, and tin. Lead diggings opened in southwestern Virginia in the 1760s and provided the metal for American soldiers in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.
But raising tobacco also faced a vexing problem—continuous cultivation of the plant depleted the fertility of the river bottom soils in just a few years. In due course the exhausted fields had to be abandoned and given time to recover their productivity. As a result, the Mid-Atlantic and Southern growers constantly sought fresh territories, which at first led to simply moving upstream along the plentiful rivers coursing over the coastal flats, then spreading out into the low valleys between the major streams.
Approximately 200 million years ago, another cycle of supercontinent breakup and assembly started when Pangea rifted apart. Streams and rivers cascading from the majestic Appalachian peaks stripped off torrents of gravel, sand, and mud, carrying them east to pile up along the coast of the recently born Atlantic Ocean. Since that time, a thick stack of this sediment has constructed an extensive coastal plain south of the New England states along the Atlantic and Gulf margins. The mountains and lowlands of the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions brought forth by this geologic history are clustered into five topographic (or physiographic) and geologic provinces—the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateaus from east to west (Fig.
Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia’s Minerals Forged the Rebel War Machine by Robert C. Whisonant