The seat of the Confederate government having been moved to Richmond
, Col. Gorgas
was, in the spring of 1861, busily engaged in organizing his work and arranging for the ordnance demands of the large forces which were being rapidly mustered into service.
He had to look to three sources of supply: arms, etc., already on hand, importation from abroad and manufacture within the bounds of the Confederacy
The arms already on hand came forward chiefly in the hands of the men who first volunteered and were equipped as far as possible by the States from which the regiment came.
In response to a call for private arms, a good many thousand shot guns and old sporting rifles were turned in, and served to some extent to satisfy the impatience of men eager to take the field until better provision could be made for them, or they provided for themselves on some of the battle fields of the early part of the war.
The importation of arms and ordnance supplies of all kinds from Europe
through the blockade soon assumed great importance.
Maj. T. L. Bayne
was put in special charge at Richmond
of this branch of the service, agencies were established at Bermuda
to manage it, and gradually the purchase was made of a number of steamers specially suited to blockade running, the R. E. Lee
, Lady Davis
, Eugenia, Stag, etc., which brought, chiefly to Wilmington
, stores for which there was the most urgent need, and took out cargoes of cotton in payment, which were almost as eagerly desired in Europe
Most of the mercury used in the early part of the war for making the fulminating mercury of percussion caps
was obtained from Mexico
, and after the ‘Trans-Mississippi
’ region had become isolated from the rest of the Confederacy
and had in the main to look out for its own supplies, much material of various kinds was obtained from Mexican
sources across the Rio Grande
, though the long distances to be covered without railroads seriously limited this traffic.
Until a short time before the fall of Fort Fisher
, (in January, 1865) which, under the gallant Col. Wm. Lamb
, defended Wilmington
, blockade running continued to be of untold importance.
In arranging for the manufacture of arms and munitions at home, there were set on foot establishments of two different