Confederate Industry: Manufacturers and Quartermasters in the Civil War

By Harold S. Wilson | Go to book overview

1
The Advent of Abraham C. Myers,
Quartermaster General of the
Confederacy

Southern manufacturers did not sleep through the long secession winter of 1860–61. They resolutely resisted the states' rights zealots at every turn. Francis Fries and Edwin Holt in North Carolina, James Simmons in Georgia, William Gregg in South Carolina, Daniel Pratt in Alabama, and Henry Merrell in Arkansas were simply the better known of a large number of manufacturers who unsuccessfully attempted to stay the hand of secession in their states (Beatty 77–78; Merrell 292–93; Evans 457, 466). Allies for the manufacturing class reached deeply into the old Whig leadership with its national perspective on economic development: tariffs; the state's fostering care of roads, railroads, and harbors; and national banking. The Southern corporate community, as a class, held a national perspective on politics, did business with the North, bought tools and machinery there, and disposed of surplus goods in Baltimore, Philadelphia, or New York.

By contrast, the Southern Confederate constitution drafted in Montgomery in February 1861 ominously called for "no encouragement to domestic industry," indicating that manufacturers were faced with both an external and an internal foe in a revolutionary economic situation: a militant enemy abroad and political hostility at home.1 A Union economic blockade quickly followed upon secession. Southern access to Northern markets ended, the avenues of regional commerce were paralyzed by uncertainty, and banks, except for Louisiana, quickly suspended

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