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Agent of the Cotton War

The root causes of the Civil War have been a topic of debate since the conflict unfolded. Editorials, scholarly articles, books and other media have scrutinized social, political, economic and military factors that culminated in America’s bloodiest chapter. These narratives range from plausible explanations to conspiracy theories.

These daguerreotypes of Ames are believed to be made in 1845 after his association with the Boston Associates, who invested in his growing business.
These daguerreotypes of Ames are believed to be made in 1845 after his association with the Boston Associates, who invested in his growing business.

The focus of this story is military and economic. It revolves around a man unknown to the general public though familiar to collectors of Civil War weapons. He is James Tyler Ames, who headed the Ames Manufacturing Company, a global weapons firm. His factory produced an enormous volume and variety of swords, guns and other military items from 1832 through 1865.

Ames’ involvement in events before and during the war has been largely overlooked. This investigation connects his company to abolitionist John Brown, and the governments and military branches of the United States, Confederate States and Great Britain. His connection to the Confederacy is especially notable. Evidence suggests that Ames’s company may have been implicated in efforts that antagonized the seceding states to the point of war, to arm these states as they prepared for war, and to continue to arm them for much of the ensuing conflict.  

Origins of the Ames Company

A chance encounter during an 1829 stagecoach ride in Massachusetts set the business in motion. Two men inside the vehicle—Nathan Peabody Ames, and Edmund Dwight—discussed a business venture. Together, they made a dream team.

Nathan was the talent. About 26 years old, he grew up with a basic education in Chelmsford, Mass. His father, a mechanic and blacksmith, taught him everything he knew about these trades. And he had a brother, James, the main subject of this investigation. Then about 19, he enjoyed the same advantages as his older brother.

Edmund Dwight, about 49, was the money. Educated at Yale, he had read law for Fisher Ames, a distant relative of the Ames brothers. The boys likely needed no introduction to Dwight, a wealthy local entrepreneur with several business interests along the Chicopee River.

Dwight came away from the stagecoach trip impressed with the young man. He offered Nathan a rent-free opportunity to launch a commercial enterprise at his factory complex in Chicopee Falls. And so the foundation of the Ames Manufacturing Company was established. James became an agent. Dwight appointed himself President and his business associate, James K. Mills, took on the job of Treasurer.

The lithograph pictures buildings owned by Edmund Dwight in the 1830s. They are the same buildings occupied and eventually purchased by Ames and later transferred to the Massachusetts Arms Company.
The lithograph pictures buildings owned by Edmund Dwight in the 1830s. They are the same buildings occupied and eventually purchased by Ames and later transferred to the Massachusetts Arms Company.

Some 15 years later, in 1845, Dwight and Mills expanded the Ames business. They invested more capital and increased the number of stockholders to include an elite group of eastern Massachusetts entrepreneurs who owned significant percentages of the state’s cotton, railroad, banking and insurance industries. These empire builders came to be known in the 20th century by the moniker “The Boston Associates.” These associates included Ignatius Sargent, Thomas H. Perkins, Samuel and Henry Cabot, Theodore and George W. Lyman, and William Appleton. A total of 23 men ultimately became members.

This map was drawn by Timothy W. Carter in the 1830s and was once the property of the Ames estate. Highlighted in red are the four Ames factory buildings and the Court Street home in which the Ames brothers resided.
This map was drawn by Timothy W. Carter in the 1830s and was once the property of the Ames estate. Highlighted in red are the four Ames factory buildings and the Court Street home in which the Ames brothers resided.
These circa 1863 cartes de visite by John C. Spooner of Springfield, Mass., include a view, top, of the Ames factory taken from the bluffs along the Chicopee River. The town of Chicopee is beyond the factory. Another image, center, pictures the factory 180 degrees from the previous view and from across the canal. These buildings remain in use and have been converted to condominiums. The bottom image pictures the Gaylord factory taken from the Grape Street bridge over the canal.       
These circa 1863 cartes de visite by John C. Spooner of Springfield, Mass., include a view, top, of the Ames factory taken from the bluffs along the Chicopee River. The town of Chicopee is beyond the factory. Another image, center, pictures the factory 180 degrees from the previous view and from across the canal. These buildings remain in use and have been converted to condominiums. The bottom image pictures the Gaylord factory taken from the Grape Street bridge over the canal.       

The roots of their power spread throughout New England and in Washington, D.C. They defined themselves as Puritans and followed the business philosophy of Fisher Ames, who taught law to Edmund Dwight. An influential member of the Federalist Party, Fisher Ames served his state as a member of Congress during the early days of the republic. He died in 1808. His papers include a passage that remains a foundational pillar of America. It also served as something of a credo to The Boston Associates: “The essence, and almost quintessence, of a good government is, to protect property and its rights. When these are protected, there is scarcely any booty left for oppression to seize; the objects and the motives to usurpation and tyranny are removed. By securing property, life and liberty can scarcely fail of being secured; where property is safe by rules and principles, there is liberty.”

The Ames Company played a part in securing liberty, despite two consequential deaths that impacted the business in the late 1840s. In 1847, Nathan unexpectedly died, leaving James the sole Ames member of the company. Two years later, Dwight passed away, leaving his only son, Edmund, to oversee commercial concerns. Timothy W. Carter, one of Dwight’s trusted employees and neighbor in Chicopee Falls, also became associated with the Ames business as a minor stockholder in 1845. Four years later, he became the agent of the Massachusetts Arms Company. This firm is often viewed as distinct from the Ames Company. But James T. Ames served as its primary director. In essence, the Massachusetts Arms Company was an adjunct operation to the Ames factory.

From 1845 through 1860, the association of Ames, Carter, Dwight, and Mills, and their stockholder ownership, had far-reaching effects on the Ames operations.

John Brown’s pikes, 1859

John Brown moved to Springfield, Mass., in 1846 to raise sheep and start a business to produce better-quality wool. He brought abolitionist fervor and a militant attitude toward slave owners. At some point, he connected with the Ames Company. Though the exact circumstances are unknown, surviving letters contain noteworthy evidence.

One letter was written by Brown to Carter in February 1856 from Osawatomie, Kan. It confirms that Brown received arms from Carter. The weapons were produced by the Massachusetts Arms Company and other sources in the Bay State.

Daguerreotype of Ames, circa 1845.
Daguerreotype of Ames, circa 1845.

Three months after writing the letter, Brown led a party of men, including four of his sons, on a raid against pro-slavery settlers, which became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre. Brown’s raiders hacked five men to death with broad swords—Model 1832 artillery swords produced by Ames.

A cache of letters from Carter to Brown, part of the Kansas University collections, confirm that the Massachusetts Arms Company furnished weapons to Brown as late as May 1857. One of Carter’s letters, dated 1857 references company director Edmund Dwight. Some historians have labeled Carter an abolitionist based on these letters.

Another letter, written six weeks after Brown led armed abolitionists on a failed raid at Harpers Ferry, Va., references the maker of the pikes used in the attack. On Nov. 30, 1859, an official at the Gosport Navy Yard in Virginia wrote to Ames. In it, he described the reaction of Virginians to the raid. “It was understood that the Chicopee Arms Co. had furnished John Brown with them pikes.”

Chicopee Arms Company was a pseudonym for Ames’ manufactory.

The suggestion that the Ames Company made pikes for Brown runs counter to the well-documented and established fact that Charles Blair, an employee of the Collins Company in Hartford, Conn., produced them. Any relationship between Blair and Ames, at this time, is unknown. One connection they shared was a business associate of Ames, Emerson Gaylord, who worked with the Collins Company during the war.

The “N.P. Ames / Cabotville” stamp (see digitally enhanced detail) dates its manufacture between 1846 and 1849, the same period Brown resided in Springfield. This is the only known example of an Ames pike in existence.
The “N.P. Ames / Cabotville” stamp (see digitally enhanced detail) dates its manufacture between 1846 and 1849, the same period Brown resided in Springfield. This is the only known example of an Ames pike in existence.

Upon receiving the letter from the Gosport official, Ames addressed the origin of the pikes in a letter to William Maynadier, a captain in the U.S. Ordnance department with Southern sympathies. Ames’ letter is lost, but Maynadier’s Dec. 16, 1859, reply survives. His response indicates Ames shared portions of the Gosport letter. Maynadier commented “…that he, at least, as well as responsible officials of the State of Virginia, was not overly concerned about the origin of them pikes.

Maynadier’s use of “them pikes” may suggest that Ames was concerned about being somehow associated with Brown. Moreover, that he feared the suggestion that Virginia officials might be connecting the Ames business to the origin of the pikes. This correspondence about the John Brown pikes might otherwise be casually dismissed as an unexplained curiosity. No record or surviving example of an Ames-made pike was known to exist—until now. The pike pictured here, stamped “N.P. Ames / Cabotville” dates its manufacture between 1846 and 1849, the same period Brown resided in Springfield.

Maynadier’s comments and the surviving pike suggest a business relationship existed between Ames and Brown. Whether this relationship involved them directly or only through a third party, such as Carter, is not currently known. Also unknown is whether or not Ames and Brown were acquaintances. If this pike and others were involved in the Harpers Ferry Raid, the Ames Company—and by association Ames himself—participated in an event widely regarded as a tipping point in the decades-long fracturing of the United States that erupted in civil war.

Supplying secessionists, 1860-1861

In the wake of John Brown’s Raid, and following the election of Abraham Lincoln as President in 1860, Southern states seceded from the Union and prepared for war.

Nearly every state that left the Union began to expand its militias and acquire weapons prior to issuing ordinances of secession.

One of the earliest Southern military units, the Alabama Volunteer Corps, formed in February 1860. In a legislative session that followed, Gov. Andrew B. Moore reported on the many weapons purchased to arm the Corps and noted all were furnished by Ames.

European tour: Ames posed for this large format albumen on June 10, 1858, during a tour of Europe and England on behalf of the U.S. War Department. He visited the Royal Small Arms Factory and the London Armoury Company during the trip.
European tour: Ames posed for this large format albumen on June 10, 1858, during a tour of Europe and England on behalf of the U.S. War Department. He visited the Royal Small Arms Factory and the London Armoury Company during the trip.

Meanwhile, Carter’s Massachusetts Arms Company, with whom Ames was affiliated, sold thousands of its first model Maynard carbines to the states of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and perhaps others. When the Confederacy formed in early 1861, the Maynard carbine was designated a primary weapon.

The Ames Company also furnished swords, revolvers (made by the Massachusetts Arms Company), accouterments, and even cannon, to the Southern states prior to and after secession. Southern purchasing agents negotiating for the purchase of Ames products encountered new competition in early 1861 when officials of the fledgling Confederacy entered the arms race. One of the first deals by the Confederates resulted in Ames shipping a percussion cap production machine to Harpers Ferry just prior to the destruction of its arsenal on April 18, 1861. The machine survived and became integral to the Confederate war effort.

Leather products connected to Ames were also bought and sold. Emerson Gaylord, who had taken over the Ames leather works in 1856 and maintained its operation within the Ames factory complex, supplied military leather goods in untold numbers to nearly all the Southern states. Gaylord belts and cartridge boxes were adorned with brass plates and buckles featuring state emblems or organizational letters, including AVC for the Alabama Volunteer Corps. The buckles and plates were produced in the Ames factory.

In Virginia, officials launched an effort to manufacture rifled muskets at its former armory in Richmond and sought necessary machinery. William Maynadier, the ordnance officer sympathetic to the Southern cause, recommended Ames “as the man from whom the material could be obtained, and as being thoroughly reliable.” In early 1860, the officials formed a Board of Commissioners to investigate the acquisition of arms and the means by which to manufacture them. They kept a meticulous record of their activity, which occurred primarily between February and August.

Ames likely carried this trade card while crisscrossing the  Southern states in 1850 and promoting cotton production machinery.
Ames likely carried this trade card while crisscrossing the Southern states in 1850 and promoting cotton production machinery.

An examination of state records reveals numerous mentions of Ames, documenting sword purchases from the Ames Company and a contract to modify existing sabers in its arsenal made by the Virginia Manufactory. Also noted is Ames’ facilitation of the purchase of Adams patent revolvers manufactured by the Massachusetts Arms Company.

The Commissioners traveled from Virginia to Chicopee to meet Ames during the summer of 1860. The visit is documented in an upbeat report dated August 15. The men learned firsthand about Ames’ international connections, including Ames gun machinery purchased by the British government-operated Royal Small Arms Factory and machinery furnished to the privately-owned London Armoury Company. They also learned that the governments of Russia and Spain had also placed orders for gun-making machines produced by Ames.

The Commissioners also visited Harpers Ferry, where they inspected Ames-made machines and learned that the armory Superintendent “entertained the most exalted opinion of Mr. Ames.”

The Commissioners left Chicopee with a positive impression of Ames. They seriously considered Ames’ proposal to furnish Virginia with rifle musket manufacturing equipment. The contract, however, went to Virginian Joseph Anderson—at an $80,000 premium. ($2.5 million in today’s dollars). The Commissioners conceded to a “Buy Virginian” concept, but yet hoped that Ames could somehow still be involved in the direction and execution of the contract.

A British connection

The report by the Virginia Commissioners presents Ames as a global leader in weapons manufacture, a fact rarely noted and little emphasized in history books. The British portion being the largest part of Ames’ international business. An examination of documents reveals a complex and tightly-knit connection between Ames’ Company, the Royal Small Arms Factory and the London Armoury Company. These business relationships fueled the production of a huge number of weapons. England may have sourced approximately 500,000 Enfield weapons, all made with Ames machinery, between August 1858 and the start of the Civil War.

One possible explanation for the rapid and voluminous arms production by the two factory complexes is that Britain anticipated sales beyond the needs of its military. Its position as a colonial power transitioning from restrictive to free trade opened new markets across the globe.

The buildup of weapon production during this period is notable. In 1860, the British Army comprised 103 infantry regiments, or 120,000 soldiers. Additionally, the British East India Company maintained, as reported in 1857, a private army of 357,000 men. A significant number of these combined forces would have been armed with weapons produced earlier in the decade as a result of the 1853-1856 Crimean War. Therefore, the domestic necessity for two British-based weapons manufacturers is debatable.

One possible explanation for the rapid and voluminous arms production by the two factory complexes is that Britain anticipated sales beyond the needs of its military. Its position as a colonial power transitioning from restrictive to free trade opened new markets across the globe.

An important marketplace ripe for sales included the rapidly expanding former colonies on the other side of the Atlantic. Producing a stockpile of arms to sell to Americans who drifted closer and closer to civil war supported British business interests. It may be inferred that the establishment of the London Armoury was strategically targeted at fueling the arms race in the States, as evidenced by the closure of the company after the Civil War ended.

A convenient family defection

Caleb Huse of Newburyport, Mass., graduated from West Point in 1851. Attached to the artillery, he lobbied in 1853 for a transfer to the Ordnance branch, noting such a move would be “more congenial to my taste.” Though his exact motivation is unclear, it is easy to imagine his Uncle James T. Ames played a role. The West Pointer was his nephew by Ames’ marriage to Eleanor “Ellen” Huse.

While Huse’s request to transfer to Ordnance was denied in 1853—ironically by then Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis—his abrupt defection to the South on the eve of the war earned him an Ordnance branch assignment with the Confederacy. Huse’s new position provided his uncle with an important ally connected to the highest levels of the Confederate government.

Here’s how it unfolded.

In late 1859, Huse secured a leave of absence from the War Department after political pressure was applied. One man who exerted influence, militia officer, engineer, inventor and former U.S. Sen. Charles T. James of Rhode Island, was also a consultant to The Boston Associates, especially in its cotton milling concerns.

Huse traveled to Europe on an Ames-financed business trip to promote a rifled cannon invented by James to European governments. Huse spent most of his six months’ leave in England and France.

Huse returned to his home in Owego, N.Y, in May 1860. He contacted his uncle, explained that he was broke and unable to pay about $200 he had borrowed. He also expressed a desire to leave the military, albeit with some hope that he might be assigned to Ordnance. Soon thereafter, Huse received his long-awaited transfer to Ordnance—and then immediately declined it. The details of why he decided against the offer he had long desired remain a mystery. However, his career path thereafter offers a clue. About August 1860, he moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to oversee the newly formed military academy at the University of Alabama. The Ames Company was already selling arms to the state. In fact, Huse supplied the 90-some odd cadets in his new corps with all military equipage in record time in the fall of 1860.

Ames is pictured in this circa 1863 carte de visite by James Wallace Black of Boston. His efforts to  assist weapons production for the Confederacy, through British manufacturing, were coming to a close.
Ames is pictured in this circa 1863 carte de visite by James Wallace Black of Boston. His efforts to assist weapons production for the Confederacy, through British manufacturing, were coming to a close.

Huse’s relocation to Alabama has long challenged historians to explain his conversion to southern sympathies. His dutiful and successful direction of the Academy, and loyalty to the state’s political interests, underscores his allegiance to his adopted state. But Huse may have also been working for his uncle, as evidenced by a September 1860 contract to Ames by the state of Alabama for 10 rifled cannon, presumably the new James pattern. Huse could have certainly influenced this purchase, though no known evidence connects him directly to the sale. His ability to quickly arm and equip his cadets also points to an active connection with his uncle.

Huse’s activities in Alabama led to his meeting with President Jefferson Davis in Montgomery just prior to the bombardment at Fort Sumter. The two men met the better part of a day. In Huse’s 1904 memoir, he feigns a lack of memory of the meeting details, the result of which was that Davis dispatched him to Europe to become the principal purchasing agent of military goods on behalf of the Confederacy. Davis, as former U.S. Secretary of War, would have been familiar with the Ames Company. Huse’s representation to Davis, outlining his relationship to Ames and his prior interaction with his uncle’s business would have no doubt influenced Davis’ decision to send Huse on this mission.

In his subsequent travel from Alabama to the Atlantic coast to board a vessel to Britain, Huse describes a head-snapping itinerary in his memoirs. He claims his travels took him to Canada via New York City and Buffalo, with a plan to catch a trans-Atlantic vessel out of Montreal. But he could not make that departure work. He wrote that he left Buffalo and ultimately crossed into New England and boarded a ship at Portland, Maine. While Huse indicates that he shipped his baggage to England from a New York City port, he decided against boarding the same ship. His apparent desire to become undetected as a Confederate may or may not explain his circuitous route. It is also possible that his elaborate itinerary was fabricated to cover up a visit to Chicopee which is on a relatively direct line from New York City to Portland.

A visit by Huse to his uncle would have paid dividends to both men. It is easy to imagine Huse being briefed on minutiae related to the weapons industry in Britain. Or Ames picking his nephew’s brain about Jefferson Davis and the state of the nascent Confederate nation.

What is certain is that by this time Huse had to have been aware of the military stockpiles of the Ames, Gaylord and Carter factories, most of which were intended for shipments south. According to Emerson Gaylord biographies published in 1879 and 1897, an agent arrived in Chicopee after the firing on Sumter and offered a premium to purchase leather goods. The agent could have been Huse, who would have wanted to secure these items for the Confederacy.

Key players in Ames’ global network: Ames’ familial, military and political connections  enabled him to sell arms and cotton machinery in America and Britain.
Key players in Ames’ global network: Ames’ familial, military and political connections enabled him to sell arms and cotton machinery in America and Britain.

A Chicopee visit would have also been Huse’s last opportunity to meet with his uncle before crossing the Atlantic. Interestingly, when Huse arrived in England, he boasted that he would secure all the London Armoury Company weapons production for the Confederacy.

Over the course of the war, Huse moved an estimated 200,000 Enfield pattern rifles from England to southern ports. The Confederacy would have been hard pressed to prosecute the war without them. While Huse claimed to have acquired large numbers of guns from the London Armoury Company, very few Enfields with the Armoury mark are present on period shipping manifests and in modern collections of Confederate weapons. One theory suggests that Huse and Armoury management bargained their guns for lesser quality arms for the Confederacy.

Huse also attempted to purchase and ship gun-making machinery to a proposed arsenal near Macon, Ga. Using contacts from his Ames connections, he negotiated a deal, the terms of which remain murky. The machinery was reportedly manufactured by the English firm of Greenwood & Batley, which had furnished sheaves and pulleys accommodating the operation of Ames equipment at the Royal Small Arms Factory. However, it is unlikely that Greenwood & Batley had the capability to produce this machinery, and this is evidenced by their purchase of Ames gun machinery as late as the 1870’s. It is more probable that the machinery intended for Macon was decommissioned from the London Armoury Company, which was Huse’s recommendation to save time. The machines, valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars in period currency, were sent in 12 separate shipments to Macon. They never arrived. One fell to the blockade and no record of the fate of the remaining 11 survived.

Post-war, Ames sees another Southern opportunity

In the winter of 1865, Ames investigated the possibility of spending the season in Milledgeville, Ga., with his wife and daughter. Union troops under Gen. William T. Sherman had caused significant damage to the then Georgia state capital only a year prior. His Southern contact, William Mitchell, seemed incredulous that Ames would even consider such a destination. The trip never materialized.

One explanation as to why Ames had an interest in Georgia was perhaps a desire to reunite with the missing machinery intended for the Macon arsenal.

As it turns out, Ames had another goal.

The cylindrical box of ring travellers was used in cotton-spinning machines.
The cylindrical box of ring travellers was used in cotton-spinning machines.

Back in 1850, Ames left Massachusetts for a months-long business tour across the South to promote cotton manufacturing machinery. On its face, the idea of a weapons producer selling cotton-processing equipment does not add up. But Ames, by this time, had become closely connected to The Boston Associates, who in turn were keenly interested in expanding its cotton portfolio. A review of Ames Company documents reveals that by 1848, 220 of 300 employees were assigned to fabricating cotton machinery.

Ames intended to rebuild the destroyed cotton mills in Milledgeville. He finally did make the move in 1872, settling in Roswell, Ga.

Conclusions

Historians have claimed almost since the close of the Civil War that the antebellum Southern industrial complex had been meager at best. Their reasoning is supported by the fact that by 1865, Southern industry had been almost completely destroyed by Union military forces. Even the Lost Cause mythology recognized that the South’s industry was inferior to the North. Other supporting evidence points to the superior industrialization of New England, where cotton mills employed tens of thousands of men and women, and Great Britain, where roughly 20 percent of the 22 million populace earned a living from cotton production.

Recent research, however, presents a different picture. In his 2014 doctoral dissertation, Michael Sean Frawley of Louisiana State University analyzed the 1860 census and other sources. He found significantly more Southern industry existed beyond what the federal government reported in census documents.

During the decade prior to the 1860 census, Southerners had responded to a call by advocates to industrialize. Calls to adopt steam-powered mills and Ames’ 1850 business trip connect to this program. It is estimated that by 1860, the combined cotton production of the seceding states would have placed it in fifth place on a world ranking—and their capability was on the rise.

“Southern slaveowners, wealthy as they were, are presented by historians as having preferred to convert their profits into more land and slaves rather than invest in industry.”

Ames contributed to this production by furnishing cotton milling machinery to known factories in Milledgeville and Macon. Ames pursued this activity on his own. It is noted that The Boston Associates were approached by advocates wanting to expand southern cotton mills, but they were not prepared to invest in the advancement of Southern commerce.

Southern slaveowners, wealthy as they were, are presented by historians as having preferred to convert their profits into more land and slaves rather than invest in industry. Thereby, slavery serves as the nexus from limited industry before the war to an industrial boon of the New South afterwards.

Southern cotton mills expanded in the 1880’s. The Dwight Manufacturing Company, established by the late Edmund Dwight, who befriended the Ames boys back in 1829, became involved in the Southern economy in 1895 and built a new mill in Alabama. The Dwight management closed their monstrous Chicopee mill in 1927. Such was the fate of all the New England cotton mills.

On July 19, 1889, Caleb Huse wrote to Jefferson Davis. It was their first communication since the surrender at Appomattox. Davis’ letters to Huse are missing, but documented in the papers of the ex-President. Huse’s reply to Davis survived. In it, Huse declared, “I am not disposed to talk or write about the ‘Lost Cause.’ I have not the time, or indeed the inclination.”

Huse’s allegiance to Alabama and the Confederacy is questionable in light of loyalties to his uncle and the Ames Company.

Davis went to his grave never knowing precise details of the role played by Huse. Davis didn’t live long enough to read Huse’s memoir, in which he described himself as “a Massachusetts-born man and of Puritan descent.” That pedigree held significant meaning to The Boston Associates, and no less for James T. Ames.

And what of Ames? He eventually left Georgia and returned to Chicopee, where his factories diversified to include sewing machine and bicycle parts. The sword business spun off into a separate entity in 1881 and continued until 1898. Ames died in 1883 at age 72. His death attracted little notice in the press.

The surviving Ames pike and documents lend credence to an argument that the Ames Company participated in the support of John Brown’s Raid that antagonized pro-slavery Southerners. Moreover, that the Ames Company materially assisted the South in its preparations for war. Lastly, that weapons machinery produced in the Chicopee factory at least indirectly supplied the Confederate military with rifled muskets during much of the conflict.

Were the events and actions simply coincidental and based entirely on opportunity as it presented itself, or were they deliberate activities engineered as elements of a larger plan?

Special thanks to Margaret “Maggie” Humberston, Curator at the Springfield Museums, for graciously allowing access to their Ames papers; Fred Gaede, for his “Gaede-grams” and their enclosure of Ames material from the National Archives; Ron Field, for providing the British military strength reported in 1860; Tim Prince, for his collaboration regarding British Enfield rifle production to the Confederacy; Kerry Gossett, and his associates, for tracking the paths of the agents who purchased items from Ames for Southern states and the Confederacy.

References: Davis, The New England States, Their Constitutional, Judicial, Educational, Commercial, Professional and Industrial History, Vol. 1; Van Slyck, New England Manufacturers and Manufactories, Vol. 1; Huse, The Supplies for the Confederate Army. How they were obtained in Europe and how paid for; Private and Special Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from May 1830, to April 1837, Vol. VII; Record of the Proceedings of the Board of Commissioners, appointed under the Act of the General Assembly of Virginia, passed January 21st, 1860, Entitled; An Act making an appropriation for the purchase and manufacture of Arms and Munitions of War, Library of Virginia Collections; Pitts, “The Alabama in the Civil War Message Board–Archive, Feb. 22, 2008, RE: 1860 Sabres by Ames Mfg. Co. Notes: Governor A.B. Moore report on arms purchased from Ames by Alabama in 1860. Joslin, “Manufacturer’s Index–Ames Manufacturing Co., Vintage Machinery.org; Iobst, Civil War Macon, The History of a Confederate City; Hoyt, ed., “Some Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, 1850-1858,” Journal of Southern History, Vol. 12, No. 4 (November 1946); Ames Family Letters, Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries; “Civil War Raids in Alabama and Caleb Huse, 1861-1865, Transcribed Letters Between Caleb Huse and Jefferson Davis, James Austin Anderson Finding Aid, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, University of Alabama; Wight, Some Old Time Meeting Houses of the Connecticut Valley; Official Records, Series IV, Volume II; James Tyler Ames Papers, Duke University Libraries, Repository Collections & Archives; Holland, History of Western Massachusetts. The Counties of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire, Vol. II; Private and Special Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for the Years 1849, ’50, ’51, ’52, ’53, Vol. IX; Cudd, The Chicopee Manufacturing Company 1823-1915; Brooks, “Role of the Massachusetts Textile Mills in the Industrial Revolution,” History of Massachusetts Blog, Jan. 9, 2017. Frawley, “More Than Met the Eye: Industry in the Antebellum Gulf South,” LSU Doctoral Dissertations; New Georgia Encyclopedia; Lozier, “Taunton and Mason: Cotton Machinery and Locomotive Manufacture in Taunton, Massachusetts, 1811-1861,” Dissertation, Ohio State University; Turner, “Terrible Swift Sword, The Edged Weapons of John Brown’s War on Slavery,” Man at Arms (December 2012); McAulay, “Dr. Maynard’s Secessionist Gun (1st Model Maynard),” Man At Arms (June 1990); Territorial Kansas, Online 1854-1861, A Virtual Repository for Territorial Kansas History, The University of Kansas; New York Times, April 10, 1864; Lewis, “The Development of the Royal Small Arms Factory (Enfield Lock) and its Influence upon mass production technology and product design (C1820-C1880),” Middlesex University Thesis; Shlakman, Economic History of a Factory Town: A Study of Chicopee, Massachusetts; Mitchell, “Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Civil War,” Dissertation, Boston University.

Ron Maness has researched the Civil War for more than 50 years. His primary research topic is the Ames Manufacturing Company and their pre-war operations. This article has been 30 years in the making.

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