Restricted Labor, Race, and Technology in the Confederate Iron Industry

jgoodguy

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Labor, Race, and Technology in the Confederate Iron Industry
Author(s): Anne Kelly Knowles
Source: Technology and Culture, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 1-26
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the Society for the History of Technology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25147645
Accessed: 13/09/2010 16:07

I have found several articles that suggest that Industrial Slavery was not as great as imagined. A problem with this is that like figuring out how great an independent CSA would be, all we have is wartime experiences. Likewise, much of the Industrial Slavery of the CSA happened in wartime. It is, however, all we have. The author contends that slave labor did not perform well in an industrial setting. We will see what they offer.

Southern iron manufacturing had to change in a hurry when the Civil War began. What had been a modest industry geared to producing mainly domestic and agricultural ironware was pressed into service to match the fearsome weaponry of the industrial North. The Confederate government effectively nationalized the region's iron industry by funding its rapid expansion and capturing the lions share of output in government con tracts. Richmond's Tredegar Iron Works, the most sophisticated iron-mak ing complex in the South, was greatly enlarged to increase the capacity of its rolling mill and cannon foundry. New mills were built deep in Confederate territory to produce iron plating for battleships and rails to move military supplies. New and enlarged foundries hastened to cast heavy can non for navy warships and coastal defenses. A new national laboratory at Macon, Georgia, strove to manufacture high-quality small-arms ammunition. The government commissioned geological surveys to find coal, iron ore, and niter, the latter being the key ingredient in gunpowder and the one kind of ordnance materiel the South had not produced before the war.1

According to historian James McPherson, this effort resulted in the one success story of Confederate industrialization. "Although often less well armed than their enemies," he writes, "Confederate soldiers did not suffer from ordnance shortages after 1862." He credits the Confederate chief of ordnance, Josiah Gorgas, "a genius at organization and improvisation," who scraped together necessary supplies from unlikely sources and created a domestic arms industry almost from scratch. As Gorgas declared in 1864, "Where three years ago we were not making a gun, a pistol nor a sabre, no shot nor shell (except at the Tredegar Works)?[not] a pound of powder? we now make all these in quantities to meet the demands of our large armies."2

Gorgas was being less than truthful in this boast. His own correspondence on behalf of the Ordnance Bureau reported that small arms were always in short supply; by September 1864 most were being imported from Europe.3 My aim in this article is not to debate the volume of Confederate arms production, but rather to illuminate the conditions under which arms manufacturers struggled to meet wartime demand, particularly for heavy ordnance. Judging from Confederate military correspondence and the detailed company records of the Tredegar Iron Works and the Shelby Iron Works, near Columbiana, Alabama, Confederate heavy ordnance producers suffered a sometimes crippling shortage of skilled labor that limited output and rendered some facilities inoperable. Those who managed to hold on to their skilled workforce, such as Tredegar and Shelby, were compelled to compromise principles dear to the cause of industrial slavery by courting and employing white immigrant artisans whose identity was anathema to Southern slave society. However bravely and creatively Confederate ord nance officers and manufacturers waged the battle of production, they lost the war for a slave society by demonstrating that a modern iron industry could not be based on slave labor.




 

MattL

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Great find and very fascinating. Obviously the limitations are the scope of adapting industrial workforces in the South in an abrupt way for an ongoing war. I imagine most of us would predict this. That a slave labor force skilled in agriculture doesn't abruptly transform into an effective industrial workforce.

Will definitely have to read this. I wonder if there are some very small scale examples that had a longer runway that might have been uncovered (whether as a success or a failure)
 

jgoodguy

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Great find and very fascinating. Obviously the limitations are the scope of adapting industrial workforces in the South in an abrupt way for an ongoing war. I imagine most of us would predict this. That a slave labor force skilled in agriculture doesn't abruptly transform into an effective industrial workforce.

Will definitely have to read this. I wonder if there are some very small scale examples that had a longer runway that might have been uncovered (whether as a success or a failure)

I put the wartime caveat in as a caution, but also noted that all we have in the way of the performance of the CSA as a whole, is wartime examples. Tredegar's Anderson does not seem to have been as successful as I previously thought and he did everything to survive from putting on a CSA uniform to cheating the CSA government to cooperating with the Union. I have seen some evidence of small-scale success examples, but the problem is scale. A rural furnace making iron for local consumption with a white crew for the skilled jobs and black for rough labor seems to work. Large-scale seems to run into the problems associated with a slave society which causes problems in ways not thought of which will be covered.

I noticed that the most positive evidence being put forth was white slave-owning southerners telling how smart they were. So I started digging. I found several articles to present.
 

jgoodguy

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Labor, Race, and Technology in the Confederate Iron Industry
Author(s): Anne Kelly Knowles
Source: Technology and Culture, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), pp. 1-26
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the Society for the History of Technology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25147645
Accessed: 13/09/2010 16:07

The Geography of Technology and Skill
Well before the American Civil War, industry divided along sectional lines. The North industrialized with the most technology.

In the two decades prior to the Civil War, the U.S. iron industry became increasingly divided along technological and regional lines. New concentrations of innovative technology and large-scale production developed between the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers in eastern Pennsylvania (cradle of the anthracite iron industry) and in other parts of the Mid Atlantic where ironmasters and artisans solved the chemical difficulties of smelting iron with the region s bituminous coal. This period also saw the rise of large rolling mills in the United States, prompted by growing demand for railroad rails, sheet iron, and nails. Although some of the largest rolling mills and most furnaces were built in proximity to iron ore, coal, and water power in rural areas, most mills were located in northern cities or industrial towns. By 1850 the outlines of what would later be called the manufacturing belt were clearly visible in the geography of large-scale iron production in the urban Northeast, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, with important western outposts in St. Louis and Chicago.4
Older technology(charcoal) survived along with new technology(anthracite) for a number of reasons. However in the North the constuction of charcoal furnaces peaked in 1850.

Nested within and extending beyond this new industrial framework were smaller ironworks that used centuries-old technologies to smelt, refine, and manufacture iron. Charcoal blast furnaces remained a leading source of pig iron despite the increasing use of anthracite and bituminous coal after 1840.5 Charcoal iron was cheaper for some finishing plants because of proximity. Rolling mills and foundries in Boston obtained most of their pig iron from charcoal furnaces in eastern Massachusetts and the Hudson Valley. Mills in Richmond relied on charcoal iron from the Shen andoah Valley and western Virginia. Tradition also favored charcoal iron producers. Despite the availability of equally good iron from coke and anthracite furnaces by the 1840s, certain charcoal furnaces' reputation for producing superior pig iron prolonged the popularity of their product, particularly among foundries that made high-quality castings such as heavy cannon and machine parts.6 The peak of new charcoal furnace construcion came in the 1850s, when demand for iron propelled the industry's expansion in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and many western and southern states.7
p0.jpg

Footnotes

4. J. Peter Lesley, The Iron Manufacturer's Guide to the Furnaces, Forges and Rolling
Mills of the United States (New York, 1859); Robert B. Gordon, American Iron, 1607-1900
(Baltimore, 1996), 59-86, 155-65. On the early anthracite iron industry of the Lehigh
Valley, see Craig L. Bartholomew and Lance E. Metz, The Anthracite Iron Industry of the
Lehigh Valley, ed. Ann Bartholomew (Easton, Pa., 1988).
5. Peter Temin, Iron and Steel in
Nineteenth-Century America: An Economic Enquiry
(Cambridge, Mass., 1964), 268-69, table C.3.
6. Gordon, 55-86, 114, 316-18; Dew (n. 1 above), map opposite p. 100. Letters
received from foundries, 1855-1861: reports on guns cast
at
West Point Foundry, 1855;
Lt.
W B. Renshay, Fort Pitt Iron Works, to Bureau of Ordnance, 14 July 1855; report from
John A. Dahlgren, 24 January 1856; memoranda from Dahlgren, 7 and 8 February 1856;
Andrew A. Harwood to Capt. G. A.
Magruder, 7 December 1860, Record Group 74,
Records of the Bureau of Ordnance [Navy], National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DG. (hereafter NARA).
7. Lesley; Temin, 268-69, table C.3; Anne Kelly Knowles, Calvinists Incorporated:
Welsh Immigrants on Ohio's Industrial Frontier (Chicago, 1997), 168-70; James Larry
Smith, "Historical Geography of the Southern Charcoal Iron Industry, 1800-1860"
(Ph.D. diss., University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 1982).





 
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Oct 3, 2005
I put the wartime caveat in as a caution, but also noted that all we have in the way of the performance of the CSA as a whole, is wartime examples. Tredegar's Anderson does not seem to have been as successful as I previously thought and he did everything to survive from putting on a CSA uniform to cheating the CSA government to cooperating with the Union. I have seen some evidence of small-scale success examples, but the problem is scale. A rural furnace making iron for local consumption with a white crew for the skilled jobs and black for rough labor seems to work. Large-scale seems to run into the problems associated with a slave society which causes problems in ways not thought of which will be covered.

I noticed that the most positive evidence being put forth was white slave-owning southerners telling how smart they were. So I started digging. I found several articles to present.
I suggest "Ironbound" by Charles Dew. The model there was a core of enslaved, highly skilled workers, with some hired enslaved workers. The owners only used white workers, who they considered poorly disciplined as a last resort.
The real limitation to the ironmasters in the book were: exhausting iron ore supplies in the region. That they were producing hammered iron as they had been for decades, and unlike Tredagar, a modern rolling mill.
 

jgoodguy

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I suggest "Ironbound" by Charles Dew. The model there was a core of enslaved, highly skilled workers, with some hired enslaved workers. The owners only used white workers, who they considered poorly disciplined as a last resort.
The real limitation to the ironmasters in the book were: exhausting iron ore supplies in the region. That they were producing hammered iron as they had been for decades, and unlike Tredagar, a modern rolling mill.

Also much less expensive than the Tredegar book. I think his iron enterprise was just a part of a larger enterprise and largely dependent on his personal management skills. It's on my buy list but a lot of stuff ahead and there are online articles to review.
 

USS ALASKA

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Joined
Mar 16, 2016
New to this topic, along with the politics / constitutional aspects of the ACW, so trying to play catch-up. Maybe we need an Economics sub-forum... :eek: I'm sure that would get a lot of views...

There are some books on the topic...

A book that @DaveBrt inspired me to buy ...just starting it now…

'Slaves for Hire: Renting Enslaved Laborers in Antebellum Virginia' by John J. Zaborney - https://www.amazon.com/Slaves-Hire-...preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Also...

'Coal, Iron, and Slaves: Industrial Slavery in Maryland and Virginia, 1715-1865' by Ronald Lewis
https://www.amazon.com/Coal-Iron-Sl...preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

'Virginia Iron Manufacture in the Slave Era' by Kathleen Bruce
https://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Iro...preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

'Old Dominion, Industrial Commonwealth: Coal, Politics, and Economy in Antebellum America' by Sean Patrick Adams
https://www.amazon.com/dp/080187968...e=395261&creativeASIN=080187968X&linkCode=asn

'A House Dividing: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia before the Civil War' by John Majewski
https://www.amazon.com/House-Dividing-Economic-Development-Pennsylvania/dp/052159023X/ref=sr_1_15_twi_har_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1519844454&sr=8-15&keywords=Virginia Railroads in the Civil War&tag=viglink22163-20

'Industrial Slavery in the Old South' by Robert S. Starobin
https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-S...&keywords=Industrial+Slavery+in+the+Old+South
107

Cheers,
USS ALASKA

 

jgoodguy

Banished Forever
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is a terrible thing...
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New to this topic, along with the politics / constitutional aspects of the ACW, so trying to play catch-up. Maybe we need an Economics sub-forum... :eek: I'm sure that would get a lot of views...

There are some books on the topic...

A book that @DaveBrt inspired me to buy ...just starting it now…

'Slaves for Hire: Renting Enslaved Laborers in Antebellum Virginia' by John J. Zaborney - https://www.amazon.com/Slaves-Hire-...preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Also...

'Coal, Iron, and Slaves: Industrial Slavery in Maryland and Virginia, 1715-1865' by Ronald Lewis
https://www.amazon.com/Coal-Iron-Sl...preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

'Virginia Iron Manufacture in the Slave Era' by Kathleen Bruce
https://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Iro...preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

'Old Dominion, Industrial Commonwealth: Coal, Politics, and Economy in Antebellum America' by Sean Patrick Adams
https://www.amazon.com/dp/080187968...e=395261&creativeASIN=080187968X&linkCode=asn

'A House Dividing: Economic Development in Pennsylvania and Virginia before the Civil War' by John Majewski
https://www.amazon.com/House-Dividing-Economic-Development-Pennsylvania/dp/052159023X/ref=sr_1_15_twi_har_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1519844454&sr=8-15&keywords=Virginia Railroads in the Civil War&tag=viglink22163-20

'Industrial Slavery in the Old South' by Robert S. Starobin
https://www.amazon.com/Industrial-S...&keywords=Industrial+Slavery+in+the+Old+South
107

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Good list. We do the economics of slavery/civil war here in S&P at least until management catches on and makes us do real history.
 

USS ALASKA

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Joined
Mar 16, 2016
New mills were built deep in Confederate territory to produce iron plating for battleships and rails to move military supplies.

While ignoring the 'battleship' word, to the best of my knowledge, the South did not produce any new rail during the ACW.

Confederate heavy ordnance producers suffered a sometimes crippling shortage of skilled labor that limited output and rendered some facilities inoperable.

From Dew's book, remember reading that even feeding the workers they did have proved to be an exasperating experience. Weak, worn-out workers it this sort of heavy industry was a losing proposition.

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

WilliamH

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Here is a New York Times article which highlights some of the prewar problems Anderson had at Tredegar with balancing slave and white labor.

“Nor was the use of slave labor as idyllic as Anderson’s rhetoric suggested. Although Anderson and his partners owned a portion of the slaves working at Tredegar, as was typical in urban Richmond the majority of the slave laborers were hired out from other owners, mostly from eastern Virginia, where overworked plantations had little use for their extensive holdings of human chattel. As was true in other Richmond factories, skilled slave laborers could earn bonuses for working overtime or exceeding piecework requirements. But unlike other hired-out slaves in Richmond, slaves at Tredegar were boarded, lodged, clothed and given medical care on site, rendering the ironworks a sort of industrial urban plantation and leaving the slaves with far less freedom of movement than many other slaves in the Virginia capital.

Even with these tighter restrictions, slave labor didn’t prove as lucrative as Anderson hoped. In 1847 Tredegar’s white workers struck in protest of Anderson’s requirement that they labor beside and train slaves; Anderson fired the strikers, increasing the number of slaves at Tredegar from 41 to 117 in a year. But profits plummeted from nearly $58,000 in 1846 to $9,000 in 1848, returning to earlier levels only when Anderson could attract more skilled white laborers. From 1850 to 1860, as the number of white workers tripled from 250 to 750, the number of slaves declined by 20 percent, from 100 to 80. Whatever Anderson wanted to believe about the benefits of slave labor, as a businessman he couldn’t ignore its cost.”

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/the-other-major-anderson/
 

wausaubob

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The secret to iron production was not necessarily cheap labor. The chemical reactions during smelting were not automatic and the infrastructure needed to get any volume was substantial.
 

USS ALASKA

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Joined
Mar 16, 2016
When reading about slavery, one often encounters comments about the 'paternal' aspects of ownership. After being placed in an industrial setting, that kinda goes out the window, doesn't it? Cost / benefit analysis is the driving factor. Can I get 'X' amount of net return from this piece of 'property', regardless if I own it or am just renting. If enough net value is returned, do I really care how quickly equipment 'Y' is worn-out, broken, destroyed? Not that this was only done with slavery or not practiced up into the present day...
167

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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USS ALASKA

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This book has a very good background history on the 'wheres' and 'whys' of the formation of the American iron / steel industry.

'The American Steel Industry, 1850-1970: A Geographical Interpretation' by Kenneth Warren

41Wn6F-FjkL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Review
“Written clearly and organized well, and it carefully reviews valuable geographic information that leads to a greater understanding of economic and historical patterns of the iron and steel industry.“
—Journal of Geography

About the Author
Kenneth Warren is Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, University of Oxford. He is the author of numerous books, including Big Steel: The First Century of the United States Steel Corporation 1901–2001; Wealth, Waste, and Alienation: Growth and Decline in the Connellsville Coke Industry; and Bethlehem Steel: Builder and Arsenal of America.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0198232144/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
205

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
Last edited:

Stratagemo

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This is a fantastic thread, thanks very much @jgoodguy for starting it.

I am intensely interested in labor and manufacturing history generally and specifically on the use of slave labor in industrial settings, so this topic is wonderful to my mind. Also having worked in iron and coal mining and iron/steel making most of my adult life, I have a deep interest in those industries.

My own views on this is that we actually have a good bit of evidence to say that industrial slavery was actually being used economically in the South in the antebellum years. I'll elaborate on what I mean below:

There is no doubt that the Southern manufacturing sector paled in comparison with the North, lagging behind in scale and scope (and in some cases technology as well). Comparatively speaking, the Southern manufacturing industry was not strong enough to successfully compete with the North.

Southern manufacturing was however compared favorably on an international scale, particularly in textile manufacturing and iron production, with strong businesses in flour manufacturing also. The states that would form the Confederacy were ranked 5th in the world in cotton manufacturing and 8th in the world in iron production in the antebellum years.

I'm certainly not trying to say that Southern manufacturing was a massive and well developed sector (particularly as compared to agriculture), but it was growing and profitable.

While there is no doubt that skilled white workers and managers were critical to the operation of these firms, slaves played a critically important part in the success of those businesses.

Slaves were used extensively and profitably in these industries. While slaves were used primarily in manually intensive roles some were, or became, skilled artisans and technical experts. Among these skilled slaves were blacksmiths, carpenters specialist skills in iron production, etc. I would argue though that the manually intensive roles were of critical importance as mechanisation was in its infancy and most elements of manufacturing at the time was manually intensive work.

In these industries slaves were either owned by the companies (or more accurately the owners of the company) or hired from local slaveholders. Those owned by the companies tended to be those that were more skilled (or those possibly used in supervisor capacities - supervising other slaves not white workers), and those hired tended to be those used in manually intensive roles. This is a bit of a generalization however as skilled slaves (blacksmiths, etc.) could and were hired.

Slaves also had additional benefits to factory owners, as they were both labor and capital, in that as property their value could be borrowed against for loans, etc.

Because of the profitable application of slaves in these industrial settings, I think there is a strong argument to be made that slavery could be economically applied in manufacturing.

That is one part of the reason why the Civil War is so important to me, I don't necessarily hold the view that slavery would have died out with greater automation or industrialization. Slavery may, and likely would have, changed but I think there is enough evidence to show that Southern industry was well on its way to successfully adapting agricultural slaves to an industrial setting.

But just my two cents!
 

jgoodguy

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This is a fantastic thread, thanks very much @jgoodguy for starting it.

I am intensely interested in labor and manufacturing history generally and specifically on the use of slave labor in industrial settings, so this topic is wonderful to my mind. Also having worked in iron and coal mining and iron/steel making most of my adult life, I have a deep interest in those industries.

My own views on this is that we actually have a good bit of evidence to say that industrial slavery was actually being used economically in the South in the antebellum years. I'll elaborate on what I mean below:

There is no doubt that the Southern manufacturing sector paled in comparison with the North, lagging behind in scale and scope (and in some cases technology as well). Comparatively speaking, the Southern manufacturing industry was not strong enough to successfully compete with the North.

Southern manufacturing was however compared favorably on an international scale, particularly in textile manufacturing and iron production, with strong businesses in flour manufacturing also. The states that would form the Confederacy were ranked 5th in the world in cotton manufacturing and 8th in the world in iron production in the antebellum years.

I'm certainly not trying to say that Southern manufacturing was a massive and well developed sector (particularly as compared to agriculture), but it was growing and profitable.

While there is no doubt that skilled white workers and managers were critical to the operation of these firms, slaves played a critically important part in the success of those businesses.

Slaves were used extensively and profitably in these industries. While slaves were used primarily in manually intensive roles some were, or became, skilled artisans and technical experts. Among these skilled slaves were blacksmiths, carpenters specialist skills in iron production, etc. I would argue though that the manually intensive roles were of critical importance as mechanisation was in its infancy and most elements of manufacturing at the time was manually intensive work.

In these industries slaves were either owned by the companies (or more accurately the owners of the company) or hired from local slaveholders. Those owned by the companies tended to be those that were more skilled (or those possibly used in supervisor capacities - supervising other slaves not white workers), and those hired tended to be those used in manually intensive roles. This is a bit of a generalization however as skilled slaves (blacksmiths, etc.) could and were hired.

Slaves also had additional benefits to factory owners, as they were both labor and capital, in that as property their value could be borrowed against for loans, etc.

Because of the profitable application of slaves in these industrial settings, I think there is a strong argument to be made that slavery could be economically applied in manufacturing.

That is one part of the reason why the Civil War is so important to me, I don't necessarily hold the view that slavery would have died out with greater automation or industrialization. Slavery may, and likely would have, changed but I think there is enough evidence to show that Southern industry was well on its way to successfully adapting agricultural slaves to an industrial setting.

But just my two cents!
I mostly agree the differences are small, in the main like all what-ifs we really do not know its future past 1860.

Each year of the war changes dynamics, the area controlled by slave owners declines. The border where slaves can escape to freedom increases. Overproduction of cotton is looming, the oncoming market price may or may not support slavery as we know it. Large-scale bankruptcies may or may not happen, putting large numbers of slaves into receivership of folks who are faced with feeding an asset declining in value. The percentage of Southerners owning slaves is declining as the price of slaves increase which may or may not create political forces negative for slavery.

Slavery is never uneconomical but is excised by political action peaceful or violent.
 

Stratagemo

Corporal
Joined
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I mostly agree the differences are small, in the main like all what-ifs we really do not know its future past 1860.

Each year of the war changes dynamics, the area controlled by slave owners declines. The border where slaves can escape to freedom increases. Overproduction of cotton is looming, the oncoming market price may or may not support slavery as we know it. Large-scale bankruptcies may or may not happen, putting large numbers of slaves into receivership of folks who are faced with feeding an asset declining in value. The percentage of Southerners owning slaves is declining as the price of slaves increase which may or may not create political forces negative for slavery.

Slavery is never uneconomical but is excised by political action peaceful or violent.

I absolutely agree, as the war goes on there is less and less of a chance of success for industrial slavery. The destruction of infrastructure and facilities, skilled white workers (to the war effort via conscription and many were Northerners who left the South) and the loss of industrial slaves (they ran off also) dooms the system.

Though sadly what follows in Southern industry in the postbellum years probably doesn't look that much better.
 

Lubliner

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The more footholds the North gained along the Eastern Seaboard, the more frequently a whole population of slaves had to be relocated inland. The Legislature of North Carolina and Georgia bear distinction in passing acts on this topic. What use could be made of the slaves? Where to move them into safer environs, and who would bear the cost was discussed in full passage of the ORA. I can possibly rediscover the volume if needed. Thanks.
Lubliner.
 

DaveBrt

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Joined
Mar 6, 2010
Location
Charlotte, NC
The more footholds the North gained along the Eastern Seaboard, the more frequently a whole population of slaves had to be relocated inland. The Legislature of North Carolina and Georgia bear distinction in passing acts on this topic. What use could be made of the slaves? Where to move them into safer environs, and who would bear the cost was discussed in full passage of the ORA. I can possibly rediscover the volume if needed. Thanks.
Lubliner.
The obvious use for the eastern NC slaves was in the construction of the Piedmont RR (Greensboro to Danville), but the road, despite government assistance, never had anywhere near the number of slaves needed for its expiditious construction.
 

USS ALASKA

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Joined
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'Arming the Confederacy: How Virginia’s Minerals Forged the Rebel War Machine' by Robert C. Whisonant

51HY6kNnhHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

This is a fresh look at the American Civil War from the standpoint of the natural resources necessary to keep the armies in the field. This story of the links between minerals, topography, and the war in western Virginia now comes to light in a way that enhances our understanding of America’s greatest trial. Five mineral products – niter, lead, salt, iron, and coal – were absolutely essential to wage war in the 1860s. For the armies of the South, those resources were concentrated in the remote Appalachian highlands of southwestern Virginia. From the beginning of the war, the Union knew that the key to victory was the destruction or occupation of the mines, furnaces, and forges located there, as well as the railroad that moved the resources to where they were desperately needed. To achieve this, Federal forces repeatedly advanced into the treacherous mountainous terrain to fight some of the most savage battles of the War

https://www.amazon.com/dp/331914507X/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
452

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 
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