The following documents are letters relating to various military operations of the armory during 1864. With General William T. Sherman's operations in Georgia, the Confederate States Armory in Macon indirectly suffered. The extracts are from bound volumes at National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 109, Chapter IV. The following extracts are included:
Repair of Arms at the Macon Armory
The Battle of Peachtree Creek started on the afternoon of July 20, 1864 and by July 23, 1864 the need for arms in and around Atlanta became paramount. As a consequence, Colonel Hypolite Oladowski as chief ordnance officer of the Army of Tennessee requested Burton to place all his armorers and machinists on the task of repairing arms. Burton complied with the requested as evidenced by the following two letters to the acting master armorer, Jeremiah Fuss.
C.S. Armory, Macon, Ga.
July 23, 1864
Mr. J. Fuss, Actg M.A.
. . . All detailed men and others not named in Order No 33 of this date will resume their regular employments at once. The entire force of Armorers & Machinists will be employed in the repair of arms as soon as the arms are received, which will be almost immediately. You will notify them that they are expected to be present for duty tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at the usual time, so that they can be put to work on repairs if the arms are recieved this afternoon. Those who neglect to do so after being notified will be sent to the front. You will make arrangements to fill the places of such watchmen as may be ordered to the front today with men unfit for Garrison Duty. You will substitute negroes for the white "helpers" also sent to the front. There is a great demand for infantry arms and the repair of arms must be pushed on vigorously.
C.S. Armory Macon, July 24, 1864
Mr. J. Fuss, Actg M. A.
In repairing arms you will give instructions to the Foremen that no labor is to be expended uselessly on "appearances." Special attention will be paid to the interior of the barrel to secure its cleanliness, the vent cleared and the lock put in such order as will secure its efficient action. All that is required is that the arms shall be serviceable. You will direct your special attention to this subject in order that the greatest possible number of arms may be made available in the shortest time consistent with the requirements of the case.
[RG-109, Ch IV, Vol 31]
Stoneman's Raid on Macon, July 30, 1864
C.S. Armory, Macon, Ga
Aug 2d, 1864
Colonel [Josiah Gorgas],
I have the honor to report that the operations of this Armory were suspended from Friday evening 29th July ulto until this morning in consequence of the military company composed of the employees of this Armory being called out for the defence of this City against a large raiding party from Sherman's Army - under the command of Maj. Gen. [John] Stoneman whose object was the capture of this City and the release of the Federal Officers imprisoned here. The raiding party appeared before Macon early on the morning of Sat 30th July having with them two pieces of light artillery (9 Pr Rodman Guns) throwing Hotchkiss Shells: and the action commenced on the high ground a short distance back from the Ocmulgee river, and opposite to this City, but within artillery range, and lasted until about 2 p.m. when in consequence of the gallant resistance offered by our forces, and also probably obtaining information of a force of our cavalry being in their rear in pursuit of them, they retreated in the direction in which they came. They were completely foiled in their object in so far as it embraced the City and the Federal prisoners confined here: but they succeeded in damaging the Ga. Cent R.R. for a distance of 35 miles from Macon, burning several bridges, depots, trains of cars, &c &c which will suspend communication with Augusta and other points East by R.R. for two or three weeks. Communication by telegraph is already resumed. Several shells were thrown by the enemy into this City, and the loss on our side during the action will amount to about 15 killed and 50 wounded. The loss on the enemy's is not yet satisfactorily known.
In his retreat Sherman & his command encountered, about 14 miles north of Macon, a force of our cavalry under Genl [Alfred] Iverson, a sharp contest ensued, and after inflicting considerable loss on the enemy, Stoneman and his commmand surrended unconditionally, and he and his officers - about 40 in number - are now confined in the military prison here. About 500 of his men have already passed through in route to Andersonville and it is expected that many more will be captured, as it is believed that the greater part of the enemy's force dispersed into the woods at the time of the surrender.
I feel great pleasure in stating that all of my men who were physically able responded promptly and with alacrity to the call. The order for them was received about 4.45 p.m. whilst they were at work, and in a few minutes thereafter they were mustered in the Armory enclosure, the roll called, the Capt. Comdg received his orders - and the company marched down to the Arsenal to be supplied with Infantry accoutrements and ammunition after which the Battn composed of this Comapny and two Infantry Companies from the Macon Arsenal under the Command of Lt. Col. J. W. Mallet, Supt of Laboratories, marched at once to the expected scene of action, and were on the spot before sundown: remaining in the field until Monday Morning Augst 1st at which time they were mustered out of service. No person connected with this Armory received injury during the action, and every performed his duty manfully and to my entire satisfaction. The balance of the day on yesterday was given to the men to allow them to rest, and to day the ususal operations of this establishment are resumed (repairing arms).
[RG-109, Chapter IV, Vol. 31]
Removal of Machinery from Macon
The following two letters, written in late 1864, address the removal of machinery from the Macon Armory to varoius points within the Confederacy. One can quickly surmise the detrimental effcts this would have on any manufacturing efforts, the machinery, and an already overburdened transportation system. Bothe of these letters are from Burton to his chief, Gorgas.
C.S. Armory, Macon, Ga.
Oct 6 1864
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your telegram of the 23rd Sept ulto ordering Stock Machinery to be sent from this Armory to Columbia S.C. Armory. Also of your letter of the 27th Sept ulto, instructing me to ship to Savannah as soon as possible, "all surplus, spare machinery & tools not required for immediate use" at this Armory, and to secure the necessary store houses for this purpose "in consulting with Lt Cols Cuyler and Mallet." Also your letter of the 30th Sept ulto instructing me further with reference to the removal &c of machinery at this Armory; and finally of your telegram of the 3rd inst, instructing me to "put the pistol factory in operation and push the work." All of these orders and instructions have been, or are being, completed with the best of my ability. The Stock Machinery is now being loaded on the cars, and will leave here tonight or tomorrow morning. I have written to Capt. McPhail, Comdg Columbia Armory, instructing him what preparation to make for the re-erection of the Stock Machines, and I propose proceeding to Columbia in a few days to give further instructions in person. The forwarding of this machinery has been delayed a week in consequence of transportation not being supplied in my requisition. Therefore surplus stores are now being packed, and also spare machinery, and protions will be sent to Savannah as soon as transportation can be supplied. With reference to Machinery &c "constructed with reference to the future works of the Macon Armory" referred to in your letter of the 30th Sept. ulto which you instruct me to "prepare for instant shipment to Columbia S.C. whenever the emergency demanding it arises" I beg to state that I have had for some time packed ready for shipment all such machinery constructed at this Armory, and have since received 15 cases of foreign machinery, which I have not had unpacked for obvious reasons. In view of the difficulty of procurring R.R. Transportation for such bulky packages as short notice and of the remoteness of the period as which the Armory buildings may be expected to receive the machinery. I think it would be wise to send all of it to Columbia at once, or as soon as transportation can be supplied, unless in the mean time the military situation in Southern Georgia becomes so improved as to render the removal of the machinery unnecessary. Unless an emergency arises in the mean time therefore, I will not ship the machinery to Columbia, but will await further instructions from you, as you will doubtless be more correctly advised of the military situation than myself and at an earlier period. Machinery suffers so much now in the transfer that I greatly desire to avoid the risk, as far as may be consistent with its safety in other respects. The Pistol Machinery will be re-erected at this Armory as soon as possible, and the manufcature resumed and pushed on with all possible rigor.
[RG-109, ch IV, vol 29]
C.S. Armory, Macon, Ga.
Dec 7, 1864
I have the honor to report that in consequence of the advance of General Sherman and his army through Ga. need in compliance with your instructions of 30th Sept ulto with reference to the removal of the Machinery & Stores at this Armory in the event of Macon being threatened by the enemy, and also acting under the advice of Maj. Gen. Howell Cobb Comdg Mil Dist of Georgia, with whom I conferred personally, the entire machinery at this Armory was taken down about the middle of last month and packed in cases for transportation and the greater portion of it sent away as follows : All the machines in charge of the M.S. K. were sent to Savannnah Ga. Also the greater portion of the machines in Machine Shop. The machinery for the manufacture of pistols I regarded as pertaining to the New Armory, and I therefore decided to send it to Columbia S.C. along with the foreign machinery and such as has had been constricted at this Armory for the Manufacture of Arms. Only about half of the pistol machinery was shipped before the Central R.R. was occupied by the enemy and also about two-thirds of the foreign machinery, and about one half of the arms machinery constructed here.
No stores have been sent away and consequently all are still on hand here. So far as the machinery of the Machine Shop is concerned, its absence will not materially affect active operations here, as workmen have not been available to employ it for some time past. I have re-erected two or three lathes, drill plainer &c &c. in the machine shop, and fortunately had on hand a small portable steam engine of about 2 H.Power which I have had placed in position in the shop and which furnishes power sufficient to drive about 60 feet of shafting and above mentioned tools. This enables me to make necessary repairs to machinery &c.
With reference to future operations at this Armory, I respectfully recommend as follows, viz:
1st The completion for occupancy at once the wing of the New Armory building now being roofed in, and which will be completed with temporary roof of shingles in from 3 to 4 weeks from this time.
2nd The re-erection on the 2nd floor of this wing of the pistol machinery.
3rd The re-erection on the 1st floor of same wing of the machinery of Machine Shop for which purpose this portion of the building was originally designed.
4th The erection of the Steam Engine & Boiler lately employed at temporary works under a temporary shed in the yard adjoining the above specified wing, for the purpose of driving machine shop & pistol factory.
5th The abandonment of the tempoary works for manufacturing purposes and the concentration of all at the New Armory.
The advantages of this arrangement will be obvious. The appropriation of the buildings at the temporary works will be referred to in a future letter. I have already in anticipation of your approval of what I now recommend commenced the re-erection of the steam engine & boiler at the New Works, and am pushing on the building to completion. In the mean time the Armorers are employed in repairing arms and in performing such work on parts of pistols as may be done without machinery.
Genl Cobb is engaged at present in making arrangements for the establishment of a wagon train between Milledgeville & Mayfield the present terminus of the Warrenton Branch of the Ga RR (35 miles) which he expects to have in operation in two weeks time. He kindly offers to transport the pistol machinery on wagons, which will be available for this purpose. The machinery is light and can be readily transported.
I respectfully request your approval of my suggestions as herein contained at the earliest moment possible in order that I may make all necessary arrangements with as little delay as possible.
P.S. This will be sent by the line of couriers established by Genl Cobb via Milledgeville & Mayfield by which route a reply will soonest reach me. A telegram through Col. [George w.] Rains [in Augusta] will be the shortest method of communication.
[RG-109, Ch IV, vol 29]
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