Download Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia’s Minerals Forged the by Robert C. Whisonant PDF

By Robert C. Whisonant

This is a clean examine the yankee Civil conflict from the viewpoint of the normal assets essential to maintain the armies within the box. This tale of the hyperlinks among minerals, topography, and the battle in western Virginia now involves mild in a fashion that boosts our knowing of America’s maximum trial. 5 mineral items – niter, lead, salt, iron, and coal – have been completely necessary to salary warfare within the 1860s. For the armies of the South, these assets have been focused within the distant Appalachian highlands of southwestern Virginia. From the start of the struggle, the Union knew that the foremost to victory used to be the destruction or career of the mines, furnaces, and forges positioned there, in addition to the railroad that moved the assets to the place they have been desperately wanted. to accomplish this, Federal forces time and again complicated into the treacherous mountainous terrain to struggle one of the most savage battles of the warfare.

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With nearly all of the arable space in the southeastern United States coming under cultivation, many more slaves were required, rooting that practice more deeply into Southern commerce and culture. Inevitably, planters wanted to expand into untilled lands for profit and to rest the ones they owned, but a formidable topographic barrier had long stood in their way. Prior to the Revolutionary War, the Appalachian Mountains blocked the westward expansion of large estate agriculture. The few hardy pioneers who dared press on through the infrequent mountain passages set up small frontier subsistence homesteads.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, the Appalachian Mountains blocked the westward expansion of large estate agriculture. The few hardy pioneers who dared press on through the infrequent mountain passages set up small frontier subsistence homesteads. Yet beyond the Appalachians lay enormous tracts of relatively flat fertile lands that could be made into farming cornucopias. The British defeat of the French on the Plains of Abraham at Quebec in 1759 settled the question of which nation would dominate the North American continental interior.

This mineral wealth played no small part in the North’s ability to finance the conflict, something their opponents’ economy could never do adequately. The early American mining enterprises involved not only metals but also nonmetallic minerals as well. The settlers had to have salt, and at first they obtained it by the ancient method of evaporating seawater at various sites along the coast. As the pioneers moved inland, salt obtained from natural brines (created from ground water dissolving buried salt layers) sprouted up in a number of places, including Syracuse and Saltville.

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