Josiah Gorgas

Josiah Gorgas

Josiah Gorgas (July 1, 1818 – May 15, 1883) was one of the few Northern-born Confederate generals in the American Civil War. As chief of ordnance, he managed to keep the Confederate armies supplied with weapons and ammunition, despite the Union blockade and even though the South had hardly any munitions industry before the war began. He kept diaries during the Civil War which are now a popular subject of study for historians.

Early life

Josiah Gorgas was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. He was graduated from West Point in 1841 and was assigned to the Ordnance Department. He served in the Mexican-American War and was promoted to captain in 1855. In 1853, he married Amelia Gayle, daughter of former Alabama governor John Gayle. In 1854, their first son William Crawford Gorgas, who later became Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, was born. Gorgas served in arsenals in different parts of the country before the Civil War broke out. He was commanding the Frankford Arsenal when he resigned from the U.S. Army.

Civil War

He followed his wife into secession, moved to Richmond and became chief of ordnance for the Confederacy. In this capacity, he worked to create an armaments industry almost from scratch. The South had no foundry except the Tredegar Iron Works. There were no rifle works except small arsenals in Richmond, and Fayetteville, North Carolina, plus the captured machines from the Union armory in Harpers Ferry. Gorgas established armories and foundries, found alternative sources for saltpeter, and created a huge gunpowder mill at Augusta, Georgia. Thanks to his efforts, the Southern armies never lacked weapons, though they were short on almost everything else. On November 10, 1864, Gorgas was promoted to brigadier general.


After the war, Gorgas accepted a position at the newly established University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. In 1878, he was elected president of the University of Alabama and moved to the house that is still known as Gorgas House. In 1883, he died, after which his wife became the university's librarian. The main university library is named the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library.


*Frank E. Vandiver, ed., "The Civil War Diary of General Josiah Gorgas" (University of Alabama, 1947)
*Frank E. Vandiver, "Ploughshares into Swords: Josiah Gorgas and Confederate Ordnance" (Austin, Texas, 1952)
*McPherson, James M. "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era" (1988)
*Wiggins, Sarah Woolfolk, ed., "The Journals of Josiah Gorgas 1857-1878" (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995)

External links

* [ Brigadier-General Josiah Gorgas- the third of "Sewanee's Five Generals"]
* [ Smithsonian: West Point in the making of America]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Josiah Gorgas —  Pour l’article homonyme, voir William C. Gorgas.  Josiah Gorgas Josiah Gorgas (1er juillet  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gorgas–Manly Historic District — Gorgas Manly Historic District U.S. National Register of Historic Places U.S. Historic district …   Wikipedia

  • Gorgas — may refer to: People Josiah Gorgas (1818–1883), a Confederate General and later President of the University of Alabama William C. Gorgas (1854 1920), a United States Army officer and physician known for fighting tropical disease Gorgas Hospital… …   Wikipedia

  • Gorgas-Manly Historic District — Der Gorgas Manly Historic District ist ein historischer Distrikt in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Er umfasst eine Fläche von knapp fünf Hektar mit acht Gebäuden auf dem Kampus der University of Alabama. Diese Gebäude repräsentieren die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gorgas, William (Crawford) — born Oct. 3, 1854, Mobile, Ala., U.S. died July 3, 1920, London, Eng. U.S. Army surgeon. Son of the Confederate general Josiah Gorgas (1818–83), he served in the U.S. Army for many years. In charge of sanitation measures in Havana with the army s …   Universalium

  • Gorgas, William (Crawford) — (3 oct. 1854, Mobile, Ala., EE.UU.–3 jul. 1920, Londres, Inglaterra). Cirujano del ejército de EE.UU. Hijo del general confederado Josiah Gorgas (1818–83), sirvió muchos años en el ejército estadounidense. En 1898 estuvo a cargo de las medidas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gorgas, Josiah — born July 1, 1818, Dauphin county, Pa., U.S. died May 15, 1883, Tuscaloosa, Ala. U.S. army officer. A graduate of West Point, he entered the U.S. Army in 1841. In keeping with the sympathies of his Alabama born wife, he resigned his commission… …   Universalium

  • Josiah — /joh suy euh/, n. 1. Also, Douay Bible, Josias /joh suy euhs/. a king of Judah, reigned 640? 609? B.C. II Kings 22. 2. a male given name. [ Heb Yoshiyah God upholds] * * * I born с 640 BC died 609 BC King of Judah and religious reformer. He… …   Universalium

  • Josiah — (as used in expressions) Brewer, David J(osiah) Gibbs, J(osiah) Willard Gorgas, Josiah Royce, Josiah Wedgwood, Josiah Winslow, Josiah …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gorgas, Josiah — (1 jul. 1818, cond. de Dauphin, Pa., EE.UU.–15 may. 1883, Tuscaloosa, Ala.). Oficial de ejército estadounidense. Egresado de West Point, entró al ejército de EE.UU. en 1841. En conformidad con las preferencias de su mujer, nacida en Alabama,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.