A Guide to the Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1845-1864 Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1845-1864 26393

A Guide to the Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1845-1864

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 26393


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© 2003 By the Library of Virginia.

Processed by: Renee M. Savits

Repository
Library of Virginia
Accession number
26393
Title
Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1845-1864
Physical Characteristics
26 leaves, photocopies
Physical Location
Business Records Collection, Acc. 26393
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Tredegar Iron Works. Records, 1845-1864. Accession 26393, Business records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.

Acquisition Information

Lent for copying by M.B.C. Chambers, Defense General Supply Center, Richmond, Virginia, 22 September 1965.


Biographical/Historical Information

Tredegar Iron Works was chartered in 1837 in Richmond, Virginia, to produce high-quality iron products. In 1848 Joseph R. Anderson purchased the company and developed it into one of the most important and largest iron making factories in Virginia and the Confederacy. The company produced horseshoes, munitions, and railroad products, along with owning several furnaces and timber lots. During the Civil War, Tredegar produced artillery pieces, cannons, shot, and weapons for the Confederacy, including the iron plates for the CSS Virginia (Merrimac). After the war the company continued to grow and supplied iron bridges, rails, and spikes to rebuild the southern railroads.

As iron gave way to steel in the 1870s and 1880s, Tredegar found it did not have the capital necessary to make the production conversion. Tredegar continued to make iron products, producing munition for the Spanish American War, World War I, and World War II. Spikes, horseshoes, rail fastenings, and car wheels were constant sellers and led to expanded facilities. In 1957 the company sold its Richmond plant to the Albemarle Paper Manufacturing Company, and moved some of its rolling mill equipment to Chesterfield County, Virginia. In 1986 operation of the rolling mill in Chesterfield County was discontinued and the machinery was sold to the Cleveland Track Material in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2003 the Tredegar National Civil War Center Foundation was created to operate a museum on the original site of the foundry in Richmond, Virginia.

Joseph Reid Anderson (1813-1892), was the youngest of nine children of William and Anna Thomas Anderson of Botetourt County, Virginia. He graduated West Point in 1836 and worked as an engineer in Virginia. He married Sally Archer in 1837, daughter of Dr. Robert and Frances Williamson Archer. By 1841, he had acquired an interest in the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond which supplied iron products to railroads and the U.S. government, and he became owner of the company in 1848. When the South seceded, Anderson offered his services to the Confederate Government as an infantry officer and was commissioned a brigadier-general in September 1861, serving meritoriously in North Carolina and Virginia. After being wounded at the battle of Frazier's Farm in 1862, Anderson resigned in mid-July to return to Tredegar Iron Works where his talent was needed more than on the battlefield. The company operated throughout the war, but after the surrender of Richmond, the U.S. government confiscated Tredegar Iron Works. Upon Anderson's request to President Johnson for a pardon in the fall of 1865, the Works were returned to him. Anderson continued to head Tredegar Iron Works and remained active in state, city, and local affairs until his death in 1892.

Scope and Content Information

Records, 1845-1864, of the Tredegar Iron Works of Richmond, Virginia. Includes certificates of inspection by Julian M. McAllister, First Lieutenant, United States Ordnance Department, 1856-1860, for cannon, guns, and shells produced by Tredegar for the government. These certificates include amounts of munitions produced and prices paid. Also includes an agreement, 1862, between Tredegar and the Confederate States of America, for the production of munitions and wrought iron, including the operation of blast furnaces, forges, and the mining of coal to provide for the needs of the Confederate government.

The records also include a note, 7 October 1864, to General William Stevens, from Governor William Smith, regarding men that had been sent from Tredegar to work at the fortifications at Drewrys Bluff (Va.). In the letter, Smith writes that he had spoken with Joseph R. Anderson, who stated that the men he had sent were necessary to the ironworks at Tredegar and that he needed them returned. Smith orders Stevens to release the men previously sent and to accept in exchange some slaves that Anderson was sending. Governor Smith added another note stating that the guards not interfere with any other servants or laborers at Tredegar Works. A list is included of the slaves that were sent to the fortifications, and includes names of the slaves, who they belonged to, where they were from, and ages. (see acc. 40379)