Richmond Arsenal

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 :: Richmond Arsenal ::
Information about the Richmond Armory complex during the Civil War

Variously referred to as the Arsenal, Armory, or the Virginia Manufactory of Arms. Located between 4th and 6th streets by the on the south side of the canal, near the James River. Destroyed in the evacuation fire - an attempt was made to rebuild it after the war, but ultimately the arsenal was razed. Nothing remains today.


Detail of 1867 U. S. Army Corps of Engineers map, showing the C. S. Laboratory on Brown's Island and vicinity.
Photograph of the ruined Arsenal, Brown's Island beyond. Titled: Panoramic View of Richmond in Ruins, from the Old Arsenal looking down the James River, April 1865. Gardner Stereo #884. Alexander Gardner - photographer.

Written Accounts

Richmond Dispatch 11/7/1860; Smith’s Armory Band plays at all the different political parties’ headquarters, including the African Church
Richmond Enquirer 2/8/1861; detailed account of Governor Letcher's inspection visit to the Armory and Tredegar
Richmond Dispatch 7/4/1861; lengthy (and graphic) account of an explosion near Thomas' Factory and the State Armory which killed local chemist Joseph Laidley
Richmond Whig 7/4/1861; fatal explosion at the Armory
Richmond Dispatch 7/5/1861; Public guard makes its annual 4th of July parade on Capitol Square
Richmond Dispatch 8/3/1861; Jas. H. Burton, Supt. C. S. Armory, taking bids for stone.
Richmond Dispatch 8/15/1861; Armory is taking bids for building a brick wall
Richmond Dispatch 8/23/1861; Pattern maker needed at the Armory
Richmond Dispatch 8/27/1861; Hodge cartridges tested at Armory on 8/26, with success
Richmond Dispatch 9/18/1861; the State Armory is at the corner of 7th and Cary
Richmond Dispatch 9/26/1861; The State Armory is now at the corner of 7th and Cary streets
Richmond Dispatch 10/2/1861; description of the armament shops on 7th streets
Richmond Dispatch 10/8/1861; Geo. Sheridan, Ala. soldier, goes crazy, runs through streets in underwear, leaps to death in canal at "Armory Bridge"
Richmond Enquirer 10/11/1861; excellent description of the Richmond Arsenal and its operation.
Richmond Dispatch 10/12/1861; CS Armory seeks pattern makers & smiths
Richmond Dispatch 10/21/1861; description of the celebration of the anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown - Armory Band and Public guard put on festivities in Capitol Square
Richmond Enquirer 10/31/1861; flint-lock muskets are being altered daily at the State Armory, at Stuart's Factory at 7th and Cary streets
Richmond Dispatch 11/7/1861; CS Armory very active now
Richmond Dispatch 12/13/1861; Capt. B. G. Baldwin commanding Richmond Arsenal is selling a horse
Richmond Dispatch 12/14/1861; Public Guard displaced from State Armory
Richmond Dispatch 2/10/1862; gunsmiths needed at Va. Armory, corner 7th & Cary
Richmond Whig 2/24/1862; crowds of people have been visiting President Davis at his residence. Armory Band is present
Richmond Whig 3/3/1862; thirteen local defence companies are marched to the "Virginia State Armory, corner of Cary and 7th streets" and given weapons
Richmond Dispatch 3/18/1862; workers at the state armory especially loyal
Richmond Dispatch 3/27/1862; worker at Richmond Armory, 7th Street, injured when shell explodes
Richmond Dispatch 3/27/1862; two “good grinders” needed at Richmond Arsenal
Richmond Dispatch

3/29/1862; Richmond Arsenal employees form company, Jas. D. Brown Capt.

Richmond Dispatch 4/7/1862; Co. B Arsenal Battalion organized, officers named. Other Governmental agencies organizing for local defense
Richmond Dispatch 4/12/1862; old cannon on street corners should be recycled – bell in steeple of Dr. Reed’s Church sent to the Armory to be recycled
Richmond Whig 4/19/1862; employee at the "Confederate Arsenal" shoots the master carpenter of the place
Richmond Dispatch 4/21/1862; Shooting at C. S. Arsenal – men preparing to present horse to Briscoe Baldwin
Richmond Enquirer 4/24/1862; Tredegar Battalion parades with the Armory Band in Capitol Square, and is inspected by the Governor
Richmond Dispatch 4/28/1862; Richmond Arsenal adv for chemist to make percussion caps
Richmond Dispatch 5/6/1862; Jas D. Browne, Supt Arty Workshop, Richmond Arsenal, needs laborers
Richmond Dispatch 5/24/1862; Mr. Jas. D. Browne, Supt. Arsenal, wants 5000 barrels charcoal
Richmond Dispatch 6/27/1862; fair for benefit of wounded soldiers to be held at Pratt’s Castle tonight – Armory Band to play, and ice cream to be served
Richmond Enquirer 7/9/1862; accident at Thomas' factory - wagoner blows his fingers off while off-loading muskets picked up on the battlefield.
Richmond Dispatch 7/11/1862; 25,000 small arms received at Richmond Arsenal, collected on Seven Days’ battlefields
Richmond Dispatch 7/21/1862; Richmond Arsenal workshops established on Williamsburg Road, near Toll Gate, for small repair jobs on artillery
Richmond Dispatch 7/22/1862; body found floating near “the gauge dock of the basin.” Supposed to be a soldier who fell in the canal near the Armory bridge a few days ago.
Richmond Dispatch 9/10/1862; City report on expenditures, fiscal year ending 2/28/1862. Spent $30,409 on Alms House, $567 for painting roof of Seabrook’s Warehouse, $509 for improvements at Oakwood Cemetery; VCRR gets permission to use temporary Broad Street tracks to connect RF&P RR with VCRR – wish to transfer 40 freight cars & five passenger cars to VCRR; city council wonders why armory for volunteer companies of the city, 9th between Main & Cary, not yet completed
Richmond Dispatch 9/16/1862; Supt. Downer at Armory wants contractors to make 50,000 sets of infantry accoutrements
Richmond Dispatch 9/17/1862; Supt. Downer wants blacksmiths & strikers at Armory
Richmond Enquirer 9/17/1862; blacksmiths and strikers needed at the Confederate Armory, foot of 5th street
Richmond Dispatch 10/6/1862; W. N. Smith wants 25 laborers at Richmond Arsenal, Laboratory Department.
Richmond Enquirer 10/25/1862; accident at the Armory - man working on a loaded musket accidentally discharges it and wounds the man next to him
Richmond Enquirer 10/30/1862; City Battalion and Armory Band parade -discipline of the City Battalion praised
Richmond Dispatch 10/27/1862; Jas. H. Burton adv 50 machinists for CS Armory, Macon
Richmond Dispatch 12/16/1862; C. S. Armory employees donate $410 to 2nd Corps destitute. Major Downer, the Supt., donated $50
Richmond Dispatch 12/20/1862; Supt. Downer adv for two grinders at C. S. Armory. Col. H. W. Clowe is acting master armorer
Richmond Sentinel 4/20/1863; workman at the Confederate Arsenal severely injured by getting caught in a turning lathe
Charleston Mercury 3/3/1864; account of Dahlgren's Raid - notes the Armory Battalion engaging the enemy on the Westham road (Cary St.) and that 171 prisoners have been received at Libby
Richmond Sentinel 3/3/1864; reprinted in Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. 37 (1909), pp. 198-202. Part two of account of the repulse of Dahlgren's Raid. Indicates the Tredegar Battalion was responsible for the repulse.
Richmond Sentinel 3/4/1864; correction: the Armory Battalion, not the Tredegar Battalion, were responsible for repulsing Dahlgren's raiders
Richmond Whig 3/19/1864; five guards at the Arsenal are picked up while trying to get to the Yankee lines and are taken to Castle Thunder
Richmond Sentinel 5/7/1864; negro injured at Confederate States Arsenal
Richmond Whig 5/7/1864; slave of Jas. H. Grant is seriously injured in an accident at the Arsenal
Richmond Whig 7/29/1864; excellent paragraph on the severe beating of a negro Arsenal worker by the foreman of the Smith Shop there for stealing copper. Gives interesting statements regarding the treatment of negroes
Richmond Sentinel 9/19/1864; an employee of the Arsenal named Taylor, along with two others, are captured while going to the enemy. Taylor is placed in Castle Thunder, the others released
Richmond Enquirer 11/15/1864; great description of the operation of the Ordnance Department - mentions the Arsenal at length
Richmond Dispatch 6/30/1894; great description of Richmond for the Confederate reunion, focusing on how much has changed since the war

Broun, William Le Roy. "Confederate Ordnance During the War." Confederate Veteran 12, p. 20; reprint from Journal of the United States Artillery.

Page last updated on 07/11/2008