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After Richmond was selected as the Capital of the Confederate States it was deemed absolutely vital to hold the city at all costs. Aside from the impression which its fall would have made on European nations that might side with the Confederacy, its great iron-works were capable of supplying a large part of the materiel for the artillery of the armies and for the navy. It provided railroad supplies in considerable quantities. Its skilled artisans furnished labor essential in the technical branches of both the military and naval services during the first year or more of the war. Now, as the political center of the new Government, its importance was enhanced a hundredfold. The actual fortifications of the city were never completed. The Army of Northern Virginia, under its brilliant and daring tactician, Lee, proved the strongest defense. Field-artillery was made in Augusta, Georgia. But here, in the Tredegar Iron Works, was the only source of heavy caliber guns, of which the Confederacy stood in such woeful need.

The Arsenal at Richmond (after the fire)

The Tredegar works for heavy guns


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