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Tredegar Iron Works

Tredegar Iron Works

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The Tredegar Iron Works was a historic iron foundry
Foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

, United States of America, opened in 1837. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the works served as the primary iron and artillery production facility of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. The iron works survived destruction during the Evacuation Fire of 1865, and continued production through the middle of the 20th century.

Today a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 District, the site and remaining structures serve as the main visitor center for the Richmond National Battlefield Park
Richmond National Battlefield Park
Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates more than 30 American Civil War sites around Richmond, Virginia, which served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for the majority of the war...

 of the National Park Service, as well as the location of a private museum, The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar.

Founding and management under Davies (1833-1838)


The foundry was named in honor of the town of Tredegar
Tredegar
Tredegar is a town situated on the Sirhowy River in the county borough of Blaenau Gwent, in south-east Wales. Located within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire, it became an early centre of the Industrial Revolution in South Wales...

, Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, where iron works of the same name were constructed in the early 19th century, and which was also the hometown of Rhys Davies, the man originally in charge of constructing the facility. In 1833, a group of Richmond businessmen and industrialists hired Davies, then a young engineer, along with a number of fellow iron workers from the Welsh valley town, to construct the furnaces and rolling mills that later became the Tredegar Iron Works and Belle Isle Iron Works.

Rhys Davies died in Richmond in September 1838 as a result of stab wounds received in a fight with a workman and was buried on Belle Isle
Belle Isle (Virginia)
Belle Isle is a small island in the James River in Richmond, Virginia in the United States. Belle Isle is owned by the city of Richmond, and has been designated a city park. It is accessible to pedestrian and bicycle traffic via a suspension footbridge that runs under the Robert E. Lee Bridge from...

 in the James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

.

Management under Joseph Reid Anderson (1841-Civil War)


In 1841, the owners turned management over to a 28-year-old civil engineer
Civil engineer
A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering; the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.Originally, a...

 named Joseph Reid Anderson
Joseph R. Anderson
Joseph Reid Anderson was an American civil engineer, industrialist, and soldier. During the American Civil War he served as a Confederate general, and his Tredegar Iron Company was a major source of munitions and ordnance for the Confederate States Army.-Early life and career:Joseph Reid Anderson...

 who proved to be an able manager. Anderson acquired ownership of the foundry in 1848 and was soon doing work for the United States government, and began introducing slave labor to cut production costs. By the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, half of the 900 workers were slaves, including many in skilled positions. By 1860, Anderson's father-in-law Dr. Robert Archer had joined the business and Tredegar became a leading iron producer in the country.

The commissioning of 900 miles of railroad track in Virginia, largely financed by the Virginia Board of Public Works
Virginia Board of Public Works
The Virginia Board of Public Works was a governmental agency which oversaw and helped finance the development of Virginia's internal transportation improvements during the 19th century. In that era, it was customary to invest public funds in private companies, which were the forerunners of the...

 between 1846 and 1853, offered a market in steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

s and rail stock. One of those attributed with starting the Tredegar Locomotive Works with John Souther was Zerah Colburn
Zerah Colburn (locomotive designer)
Zerah Colburn was an American engineer specialising in steam locomotive design, technical journalist and publisher.- Career :Without any formal schooling, Colburn was a teenage prodigy...

, the well-known locomotive engineer and journalist. The company produced about 70 steam locomotives between 1850 and 1860. From 1852 to 1854, John Souther
John Souther
John Souther was the founder of Globe Locomotive Works, an American steam locomotive manufacturing company. In his obituary published in the Newton, Massachusetts, Town Crier, he is credited with the invention of the steam shovel and steam dredger as well as designing the pattern for the fence...

 also managed the locomotive shop at Tredegar. Its locomotive production work is sometimes listed with combinations of the names Anderson, Souther, Delaney, and Pickering.

Prior to the Civil War, industry expanded at the Tredegar site under Anderson's direction to include a new flour mill on land leased to Lewis D. Crenshaw and a stove works on land leased to A.J. Bowers and Asa Snyder. By 1860, Crenshaw and Co. had established the Crenshaw Woolen Mill on adjoining land they owned. This enterprise employed more than 50 people. The Crenshaw Woolen Mill became "the principal source of supply for the [Confederate] Army's requirements of uniform material" during the first half of the Civil War. A
May 16, 1863 fire on the Tredegar/Crenshaw site damaged the mill, which was not rebuilt, and Tredegar purchased the land from Crenshaw and Co. by 1863.

American Civil War


By 1860, the Tredegar Iron Works was the largest of its kind in the South, a fact that played a significant role in the decision to relocate the capital of the Confederacy from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond in May 1861. Tredegar supplied high-quality munitions to the Confederacy during the war.

Its wartime production included:
  • the iron plating for the first Confederate ironclad warship
    Ironclad warship
    An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship in the early part of the second half of the 19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire,...

    , the CSS Virginia
    CSS Virginia
    CSS Virginia was the first steam-powered ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy, built during the first year of the American Civil War; she was constructed as a casemate ironclad using the raised and cut down original lower hull and steam engines of the scuttled . Virginia was one of the...

     which fought in the historic Battle of Hampton Roads
    Battle of Hampton Roads
    The Battle of Hampton Roads, often referred to as either the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimack or the Battle of Ironclads, was the most noted and arguably most important naval battle of the American Civil War from the standpoint of the development of navies...

     in March 1862.
  • credit for approximately 1,100 artillery pieces during the war, about half of the South's total domestic production of artillery between the war years of 1861-1865.
  • a giant rail-mounted siege cannon
    Railway gun
    A railway gun, also called a railroad gun, is a large artillery piece, often surplus naval ordnance, mounted on, transported by, and fired from a specially designed railway wagon. Many countries have built railway guns, but the best known are the large Krupp-built pieces used by Germany in World...

    .
  • The company also manufactured railroad steam locomotives in the same period.


Anderson was a strong supporter of southern secession and became a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army as the war broke out. He was wounded at Glendale
Battle of Glendale
The Battle of Glendale, also known as the Battle of Frayser's Farm, Frazier's Farm, Nelson's Farm, Charles City Crossroads, New Market Road, or Riddell's Shop, took place on June 30, 1862, in Henrico County, Virginia, on the sixth day of the Seven Days Battles of the American Civil War.The...

 during the Seven Days Battles
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles was a series of six major battles over the seven days from June 25 to July 1, 1862, near Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee drove the invading Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, away from...

 of the Peninsula Campaign
Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War was a major Union operation launched in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862, the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. The operation, commanded by Maj. Gen. George B...

 in 1862 and served in the Ordnance Department for the duration of the Civil War.

As the war continued with more and more men conscripted into the Confederate armies, Tredegar experienced a lack of skilled laborers. Scarce supplies of metal also hurt the company's manufacturing abilities during the war and as the conflict progressed it was noticed that Tredegar's products were beginning to lose quality as well as quantity. Even in the summer of 1861, soon after the beginning of the Civil War, the initial quantity of metal was so scarce that the iron works failed to produce a single piece of artillery for an entire month.

Survival


During the evacuation of Richmond by the Confederates on the night of April 2–3, 1865, the retreating troops were under orders to burn many of the munitions dumps and industrial warehouses that would have been valuable to the North. Anderson reportedly paid over 50 armed guards to protect the facility from arsonists. As a result, the Tredegar Iron Works is one of few Civil War-era buildings that survived the burning of Richmond.

At the outset of hostilities, Anderson had wisely secured Tredegar assets overseas for the duration of the Civil War and, therefore, was able to restore his business when the Confederate currency collapsed. He petitioned U.S. President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 for a pardon for himself and Tredegar and was back in business before the end of 1865, regaining full ownership in 1867.

After the Civil War


By 1873, Tredegar Iron Works was employing 1,200 workers and was a profitable business. The neighborhood of Oregon Hill
Oregon Hill
Oregon Hill is a historically white working class neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. Oregon Hill overlooks the James River and Belle Isle, and provides access to Hollywood Cemetery.-History:...

 cropped up as a company town
Company town
A company town is a town or city in which much or all real estate, buildings , utilities, hospitals, small businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations, and other necessities or luxuries of life within its borders are owned by a single company...

-like development.

When Joseph Anderson died on a vacation in New Hampshire in 1892, he was succeeded by his son Colonel Archer Anderson. The Tredegar company remained in business throughout the first half of the 20th century, and supplied requirements of the armed forces of the United States during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Preservation


In the 1990s, the Tredegar Ironworks was host to the short-lived "Valentine on the James" extension of the Valentine Richmond History Center
Valentine Richmond History Center
The Valentine Richmond History Center is a museum dedicated to the history of Richmond, Virginia, USA, in the Court End neighborhood. It started out as an eclectic collection of Mann S. Valentine, Jr., the independently wealthy creator of Valentine's Meat Juice...

. Later, the main visitor center for Richmond National Battlefield Park
Richmond National Battlefield Park
Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates more than 30 American Civil War sites around Richmond, Virginia, which served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for the majority of the war...

 opened at the Tredegar Ironworks site in June, 2000. The National Park Service visitor center/museum is located in the restored pattern building and offers three floors of exhibits, an interactive map table, a film about the Civil War battles around Richmond, a bookstore, and interpretive NPS rangers on site daily to provide programs and to aid visitors.

The idea of another museum on the site was later realized on Saturday, October 7, 2006,The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar opened to the public. James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book...

 described the museum as "a truly comprehensive exhibit and education center weaving together Union, Confederate, and African-American threads ... much needed for future generations to understand how the Civil War shaped the nation." The Center contains interactive theaters, plasma-screen maps, and artifacts. The museum's exhibits were put together by a team of historians that included James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. He received the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, his most famous book...

 of Princeton, Bill Cooper of Louisiana State University, John Fleming of the Cincinnati Museum Center, Charles Dew of Williams College, David W. Blight
David W. Blight
David W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University. Blight was the Class of 1959 Professor of History at Amherst College, where he taught for 13 years.-Life:...

 of Yale and Emory Thomas at the University of Georgia.

Lincoln statue


In 2000, the former Tredegar Iron Works facility overlooking the James River
James River (Virginia)
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia. It is long, extending to if one includes the Jackson River, the longer of its two source tributaries. The James River drains a catchment comprising . The watershed includes about 4% open water and an area with a population of 2.5 million...

 near downtown Richmond became the site of the main Visitor's Center of the Richmond National Battlefield Park
Richmond National Battlefield Park
Richmond National Battlefield Park commemorates more than 30 American Civil War sites around Richmond, Virginia, which served as the capital of the Confederate States of America for the majority of the war...

. Sculptor David Frech of Newburgh, New York, was commissioned by The United States Historical Society of Richmond to commemorate the historic arrival of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and his son Thomas Lincoln
Thomas Lincoln
Thomas Lincoln was an American farmer and father of President Abraham Lincoln.-Ancestors:Thomas Lincoln was descended from Samuel Lincoln, a Puritan from East Anglia who landed in Massachusetts in 1637...

 and their tour of the burnt-out Union-captured Richmond Virgina, April 4, 1865, 10 days before his assassination.

Funds were raised by the Historical society through donations and the selling of miniature versions of the statue as well as bronzed resin copies.
The statue, much like the Arthur Ashe Monument, received a wide array of criticism for its placement. Traditionally reserved for statues of key figures of the Confederacy protests were held at the unveiling April 5, 2003, namely by the Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Sons of Confederate Veterans is an American national heritage organization with members in all fifty states and in almost a dozen countries in Europe, Australia and South America...

. Robert H. Kline, chairman of the historical society, the Richmond-based nonprofit company that commissioned the statue stated that the statue was for the purpose of reconciliation "He came on a mission of peace and reconciliation and I think the statue will serve that purpose for a very long time"

Opponents of the statue claim that the statue commemorates Lincoln's arrival into Richmond a proud victor. Bragdon Bowling, Virginia division commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was among the speakers protesting the statues unveiling stating that it represented "a slap in the face of a lot of brave men and women who went through four years of unbelievable hell fighting an invasion of Virginia led by President Lincoln." and that "As a Southerner, I'm offended. You wouldn't put a statue of Winston Churchill in downtown Berlin, would you? What's next, a statue of Sherman in Atlanta?". Other notable protesters include Fred Tayor, president of the Heritage Preservation Association; and Elliott Germain, chairman Virginia League of the South.

Dignitaries at the installation ceremony included Douglas Wilder
Douglas Wilder
Lawrence Douglas "Doug" Wilder is an American politician, the first African American to be elected as governor of Virginia, and the second to serve as governor of a U.S. state. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. When earlier elected as Lieutenant Governor, he was...

, former Mayor and Lt. Governor Tim Kaine
Tim Kaine
Timothy Michael "Tim" Kaine is a Virginia politician. Kaine served as the 70th Governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010, and was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011...

, Mayor Rudy McCollum, and former governor Gerald L. Baliles
Gerald L. Baliles
Gerald L. Baliles was the 65th Governor of Virginia and is the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia...

.

The statue is made of a bronze cast depicting Lincoln and his son Tad on a bench with Lincoln's arm over his sons. The bench was deliberately made long enough so that viewers may sit next to either statue on the bench to take photographs. The words '- To Bind Up The Nation's Wounds -' are carved in to granite behind them.

Fiction


In Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's Southern Victory Series of alternate history novels, in which the South wins the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the Confederate Army's standard rifle
Rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

is called the Tredegar, produced by what is by then called the Tredegar Steel Works.

External links