A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 25744
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Tredegar Iron Works. Records, 1845-1865. Accession 25744, Business records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
Lent for copying by D.G. Hasse, Richmond, Virginia, through the Virginia Civil War Commission, Richmond, Virginia, 1962 and 1963.
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.
Archer Anderson (1838-1919), eldest of twelve children of Joseph Reid and Sally Anderson, was born in Ft. Monroe, Virginia. He served as chief of staff to General Joseph E. Johnston during the Civil War and married Mary Anne Mason, daughter of John Young Mason, in 1859. He was president of Tredegar Iron Works from 1892 to 1918. Archer Anderson, Jr. (1866-1942), third of seven children of Archer and Mary Anne Anderson, was born in Richmond, Virginia. He served as president of Tredeger Iron Works from 1918, until his death in 1942.
Records, 1845-1865, of the Tredegar Iron Works, including correspondence, receipts, promissory notes, suit papers, insurance policies, and price lists, mainly relating to the companies work during the Civil War. These records include information on munitions Tredegar sold pre-Civil War to the United States government and to the Confederate government during the Civil War, operation of Tredegar furnaces, general operations of the factory, and slave labor.
Includes orders for munitions from Ft. Monroe Arsenal, 1845; copy of an insurance policy from the Virginia Fire and Marine Insurance Co., 11 September 1850; inspection notices of munitions, 26 November 1856; an order from the United States government for munitions, 1857 November; letter to John F. Tanner, from his son W.E. Tanner, 16 March 1861, regarding a trip to Cuba to sell rails; a passport for John F. Tanner from Cuba, 1862; and a copy of a suit, Confederate States of America vs. Joseph R. Anderson and Company, 12 November 1862, regarding money Anderson owed to a northern company, but which under an act by the Confederate government, would be confiscated by the government.
Also includes an agreement, 1862, between Tredegar and George W. Randolph, Secretary of War for the Confederate States of America; a listing of amounts due for slaves and laborers hired, 1 April 1862; letter, 17 September 1863, from J.A. Campbell, Confederate States of America War Department, authorizing Tredegar to purchase grain, beef, and other supplies for Tredegar; receipt, 24 November 1863, for an advertisement to hire slaves at Tredegar; promissory notes, January 1864, for the hire of a slaves to work at Tredegar; correspondence regarding the blast furnaces, 1864 April 28, from Joseph R. Anderson; and a proposed price list for Tredegar, 1 January 1864.
These materials were received from W.F. Hasse, whose father had worked for Tredegar.
Many of these records are duplicates of originals which may be found in the main collection of Tredegar Iron Works Records, 1801-1957 (acc. 23881, 24808).