North Carolina Civil War Documentary

By W. Buck Yearns; John G. Barret | Go to book overview

IX
PROBLEMS OF PROCUREMENT

After the war, Zeb Vance observed "a nation in prison we were, in the midst of civilized society, and forced to rely exclusively upon ourselves for everything."1 This isolation, caused by the increasingly effective blockade, found the South woefully unfit to equip its armies by its own resources. Like her sister slave states, North Carolina had few manufactories or skilled laborers, less than one percent of her population being employed in manufacturing, and the tools and accoutrements of war would always be scarce. "Not an ounce of lead was mined in the state, and hardly enough iron was smeltered to shoe the horses. Revolvers and sabres were above all price, for they could not be bought."2

Secessionist leaders knew that their success might lead to war and began early preparations for it. In January 1861, the legislature appropriated $300,000 for arms and equipment and established a military commission to help Governor Ellis administer it. Ellis then dispatched agents northward with long lists of military needs, and, not surprisingly, the northern manufacturers were more than willing to sell the state whatever she could afford to buy. The attack on Fort Sumter made secession inevitable and soon war took precedence over everything. By the end of May $5,300,000 which had been appropriated by the legislature for military preparedness had been spent, and $6,500,000 more was needed. The cost of such goods mounted steadily and soon some supplies were unavailable at almost any price.

Chief among the state's needs was a continuing supply of weapons and ammunition. All ordnance that could be saved from the Norfolk Navy Yard was moved to Charlotte. There land was bought; machine- shops and workshops were erected for continuing the manufacture of projectiles, gun carriages, and other necessary naval purposes. At one time the operation employed over three hundred workers. There were also several federal arsenals in the South which had served as repositories for small arms manufactured in the North, and from these the Confederacy

____________________
1
Dowd, Life of Zebulon B. Vance, pp. 453-54.

-155-

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North Carolina Civil War Documentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • ILLLUSTRATIONS ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • I- a Time for Decision 3
  • II- North Carolina Secedes 18
  • III- North Carolina Invaded, 1861-1862 28
  • IV- War in Eastern North Carolina, 1862-1864 43
  • V- Blockade-Running 65
  • VI- Fort Fisher 79
  • VII- War in Central and Western Countries 93
  • VIII- The Call to Arms 125
  • IX- Problems of Procurement 155
  • X- State Socialism 174
  • XI- Bearing the Costs of War 188
  • XII- The War and the Rairoads 204
  • XIII- The Economy of Scarcities 213
  • XIV- Church and School 225
  • XV- Victims of Attrition 246
  • XVI- Life Goes on at Home 265
  • XVII- State Rights and State Pride 272
  • XVIII- The Peace Movement 291
  • XIX- Wartime Politics 307
  • XX- Sherman in North Carolina 321
  • Bibliography 343
  • Index 351
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