Ladies and Officers in the Interior Court, Washington Arsenal

Robert Gray

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#1
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR IN TEN VOLUMES
Frances T. Miller - Editor in Chief - The Review of Reviews Co.
1911

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These leisurely ladies and unhurried officers do not betray the feverish activity which existed in the Union Ordnance Department throughout the war. By the latter part of 1860 there were thirteen arsenals, two armories and one depot for the manufacturing and safe-keeping of ordnance and ordnance stores in the United States. There were stored in arsenals in the South about 61,000 small arms of all patterns which fell into the hands of the Confederates. About April 13, 1861, the Chief of Ordnance suggested that, in view of the limited capacity of the arsenals, there should be purchased from abroad from 50,000 to 100,000 small arms and eight batteries of rifled cannon. There was no immediate action on this request. Early in 1861 the State of New York purchased 20,000 Enfield rifles from England, with an initial purchase of 100,000 rounds of ammunition. Efforts were made to encourage the private manufacturers in the Northern States to increase the capacity of their plants, and to provide a uniform pattern. The Springfield model of United States rifle was then the standard. The arsenal was kept in model condition throughout the war. In the yard were stored thousands of heavy and light cannon, with hundreds of thousands of projectiles of every description. Hundreds of extra wheels, besides promiscuous material piled In order, were kept there always ready for issue.
 
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Pat Young

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#3
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR IN TEN VOLUMES
Frances T. Miller - Editor in Chief - The Review of Reviews Co.
1911

View attachment 142063

These leisurely ladies and unhurried officers do not betray the feverish activity which existed in the Union Ordnance Department throughout the war. By the latter part of 1860 there were thirteen arsenals, two armories and one depot for the manufacturing and safe-keeping of ordnance and ordnance stores in the United States. There were stored in arsenals in the South about 61,000 small arms of all patterns which fell into the hands of the Confederates. About April 13, 1861, the Chief of Ordnance suggested that, in view of the limited capacity of the arsenals, there should be purchased from abroad from 50,000 to 100,000 small arms and eight batteries of rifled cannon. There was no immediate action on this request. Early in 1861 the State of New York purchased 20,000 Enfield rifles from England, with an initial purchase of 100,000 rounds of ammunition. Efforts were made to encourage the private manufacturers in the Northern States to increase the capacity of their plants, and to provide a uniform pattern. The Springfield model of United States rifle was then the standard. The arsenal was kept in model condition throughout the war. In the yard were stored thousands of heavy and light cannon, with hundreds of thousands of projectiles of every description. Hundreds of extra wheels, besides promiscuous material piled In order, were kept there always ready for issue.
Many of the workers making cartridges were women and girls, mostly immigrant Irish. An explosion killed and wounded many of them.
 
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#4
Today it is within the confines of Fort Lesley J. McNair. Some of the buildings may still exist, the answer was a little odd. This was the area of the hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators. According to accounts the Arsenal explosion in 1864 a most likely destroyed a large portion of it. Since 9/11 McNair is not easily toured. If anything survived until 1881, it has been remodeled. So parts of it may still be there. The online sources were less than specific.
 

chubachus

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#5
Been to Fort McNair a number of times, and the only Civil War era building I know of that still exists is Grant Hall, where the Lincoln conspirators were tried. There are a few older-looking buildings that may be as well, not sure, but I think they tore down all of the larger buildings like the one in OPs photo.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#7
It was all part of the arsenal, which always makes this image more striking. Ladies and a child posing with officers in time of war, cannon balls in the background is jarring enough. Add the explosion and deaths later and this image is a little chilling.
 



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