A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 38921
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Virginia Auditing Board, Harper's Ferry Armory Accounts, 1861. Accession 38921, State Records Collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
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The state government faced serious problems in mobilizing for war after Virginia seceded from the Union on April 27, 1861. In response to this, the secession convention passed an ordinance on April 27, creating a board of commissioners to audit and settle all account for expenses and claims incurred in the defense of the state. This included assembling, arming, equipping and maintaining troops and the navy, transporting munitions, and paying for damages. This ordinance was repealed on April 30, 1861, when a new, more comprehensive ordinance was passed. Although the three members of the board initially were appointed by the convention, vacancies were filled by the governor. The board continued in operation until the end of the Civil War.
The United States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry was seized by Virginia militia under Colonel Turner Ashby on April 18, 1861. All of the weapons, machinery, and stock were confiscated by the Confederate States government and transported to the Richmond Armory shortly thereafter. This massive task began in June 1861 under the direction of James H. Burton, Superintendent of the Richmond Armory. Once the materials were evacuated, Col. Joseph E. Johnston's troops burned the armory buildings and the Rifle Works. Some of the factory workers who stayed loyal to the south relocated to work in the Richmond Armory, while others went to Fayetteville, N.C.
Scope and Content Information
Contains accounts, affidavits, correspondence, extracts from Federal rolls, payrolls, powers of attorney, and receipts related to the settlement of accounts by the Auditing Board for services performed at the Harper's Ferry Armory in 1861. The accounts include both those to the Confederate States of America and the State of Virginia. The Confederate States of America accounts include a receipt and an affidavit from Alfred M. Barbour, late superintendent of the U.S. Armory. Each claimant swore an oath to the Confederate States of America before George W. Munford, President of the Auditing Board. The accounts to the State of Virginia are also signed by Barbour and include a receipt and affidavit for services rendered. There are five separate affidavits from the fathers of armory workers swearing that their sons are under twenty-one years of age. There is correspondence between James H. Burton, Superintendent of the C.S. Armory, and Munford regarding the account of John Cross. Burton also corresponded with J. Bell Bigger, Clerk of the Auditing Board, regarding John Cross and Samuel Shewbridge's account. There are also letters to Bigger from Joseph Schoppert and James H. Holt regarding powers of attorney and accounts. Three letters from Thomas W. Shriver, Ordnance Dept., to Bigger regarding accounts. The extracts from Federal rolls list the names, operations, number, price and amount for work done by Federal employees at the armory in April 1861.
There are four payrolls found in these records. The payrolls include the name, occupation, time or number of days employed, wages, and amount for work done in June and July 1861. The powers of attorney were issued by employees to appoint individuals to draw and receive pay on their behalf. Some of these documents are for individuals who relocated to the armories in Richmond and Fayetteville, N.C. There are two receipts in the collection: one for pay and the other for the removal of gun stocks from the armory. Lastly, there is a return of work done at the U.S. Armory which lists the names, occupation, number, price, and amount of work done at the U.S. Armory between March and April 1861.
Box 1 Folder 1Accounts - Confederate States of America, 1861
Box 1 Folder 2Accounts - State of Virginia, 1861
Box 1 Folder 3Affadavits, 1861
Box 1 Folder 4Correspondence, 1861
Box 1 Folder 5Extracts from Federal Roll, 1861
Box 1 Folder 6Payrolls (see also oversize), 1861
Box 1 Folder 7Powers of Attorney, 1861
Box 1 Folder 8Receipts, 1861
Box 1 Folder 9Return of work done at the U.S. Armory (see also oversize), 1861 March-April
Box 2 Folder 1Payrolls, 1861 June-July
Box 2 Folder 2Return of work done at U.S. Armory, 1861 March-April