Arming the Union through Innovation, Genius, and Agency
Men, Machine, & the Carbine
The States Buy
For states, such as Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana, who were not close to the Eastern arsenals, their officials set up “public facilities” to make ammunition.1 The arsenal in Springfield, Illinois, had around 140 workers and fabricated around 25,000 to 50,000 cartridges per day during their highest production (during 1861 August). By the time that arsenal closed in the winter of 1861-1862, it had produced 4.6 million rounds of small arms cartridges.2 State facilities ranged in number of workers and productivity. Few state arsenals that opened in 1861 remained in operation throughout the majority of the war, including Ohio’s (closed in August 1863) and Indiana’s (closed in the Spring of 1864).3 After Secretary of War Simon Cameron’s 1861 order (see next section), many state governments stopped procuring guns and ammunition for their troops. That order promoted federal procurement of arms over state procurement. The federal government and private manufacturers creating carbines and cartridges may have resulted in the decrease of those state arsenals.
1 Mark Wilson, The Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861 – 1865 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 13
2 Wilson, The Business of Civil War, 14
3 Wilson, The Business of Civil War, 32
PHOTO: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
"Bayoneted rifles on racks at arsenal of 134th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, [in] Columbus, Kentucky"