previous next
[221] intended originally, the training unskilled laborers into skilled workmen, the frequent necessity for giving up such workmen as there were to the crying demand for men in the ranks, the organizing and drilling of battalions for temporary service, from men who had to shoulder the musket one day and go back to the anvil and the file the next, the looking after the wants of those men, and to a considerable extent of their families, for food and clothing, the breaking up, sometimes literally at a day or two's notice, of a whole establishment which it had taken months to create, loading machinery, material and men upon freight trains, to be moved off to a new point where all had to be again set to work with the least possible delay, only to be again dislodged a few weeks later.

Of General Gorgas himself, during those troublous times, three impressions specially recur to me:

1st. The quietness of demeanor and absence of impatience, or confusion with which his work was done.

2d. The capability which he possessed of working through subordinates. While clear and decided in his general instructions, he was always ready to give to officers under him the amplest field in which to exercise their own discretion and ingenuity as to details, to show what they could do in the way of overcoming difficulties or accomplishing results; and no one could be more fair, more generous in recognizing whatever individual merit was thus exhibited by his subordinates—no one less anxious to claim such merit or praise for it for himself.

3d. The breadth of view with which he continually strove, not merely to keep up with the overwhelming demands of each day and each month, for war material for immediate use, but to steadily improve the organization of the bureau under his charge, to make it more efficient in personnel and material.

As the ‘Bureau of Foreign Supplies’ grew out of his suggestions and practical action, so did the Mining and Nitre Bureau, of which Colonel I. M. St. John was made the chief. Through this officer the whole nitre-bearing area of the country was laid off into districts, and production was in every way stimulated. This is equally true as to lead, iron, copper, chemical supplies and leather.

General Gorgas had a quick appreciation of men, and was admirable in the selection of officers to execute his orders. Colonel G. W. Rains was designated to erect and operate the powder works at Augusta, Ga. Lieutenant-Colonel J. W. Mallet (now the distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Virginia), was made

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Augusta (Georgia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Josiah Gorgas (2)
I. M. Saint John (1)
G. W. Rains (1)
J. W. Mallet (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: