Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Looking for NC's Civil War: The Fayetteville Arsenal

The United States Arsenal in Fayetteville was constructed in 1838. "The cornerstone for the Arsenal was laid April 9, 1838. It was constructed of brick and stone and at each of the four corners of its massive walls was an octagonal tower. Entry into the Arsenal was controlled by use of massive iron gates, workshops, quarters and other buildings in the Arsenal were constructed of brick and wood."

Governor Ellis ordered the arsenal to be seized in 1861. In October 1861, equipment used to manufacture rifles was shipped from the captured Arsenal at Harper's Ferry to Fayetteville and manufacture of the Fayetteville rifle began soon thereafter. At peak production, 500 rifles were made per month, along with swords, bayonets, and other munitions.  The facility employed both men and women during the war.

As General Sherman approached in 1865, the rifle manufacturing machinery was shipped from Fayetteville and hidden in the Egypt, North Carolina, coal mines. Sherman ordered the arsenal destroyed and his soldiered reportedly used railroad rails to batter down the walls. The remains were later set on fire, and artillery projectiles within exploded and caused additional damage.

The footers of the building are all that remain. I took this photo in October 2009.

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