Josiah Gorgas

Monument: Find-a-Grave

Josiah Gorgas, a native of Pennsylvania, was born at Running Pumps, Dauphin County, on July 1, 1818, and was graduated from West Point in 1841. In 1853 he was married to the daughter of ex-Governor Gayle of Alabama. Since he had served in the Ordnance Department during his entire old army career, it was natural that President Davis should appoint him Chief of Ordnance of the Confederate States in 1861, with rank of major. Gorgas rendered notable service throughout the war, and was finally promoted brigadier general to rank from November 10, 1864. He was largely responsible for keeping the armies supplied with powder, caps, bullets, and arms from a country in which the manufacture of these things was almost unknown before 1861. Gorgas is also due great credit for the Confederate attempt to break the stranglehold of the blockade. Foreign materiel was absolutely essential to the war effort in the South, and thus Gorgas early took a strong interest in blockade running. With no real cooperation from the Secretary of War he bought five blockade runners, that managed a large number of successful trips through the Federal squadrons. In the words of General Joseph E. Johnston: "He created the ordnance department out of nothing." After the war he went to Alabama, and for a time served as superintendent of the Brierfield Iron Works there. In 1868 he was elected vice-chancellor of the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee, and in 1878 president of the University of Alabama. General Gorgas died at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, May 15, 1883, and is buried there.

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Ref: Generals in Gray, Lives of the Confederate Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Printed by Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London.