Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pittsburgh during the Civil War: Pictures from the Heinz History Center

I finally got to the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh today with my sister (who had never been there) to take a walk-through as well as hit up their archives for information about the Allegheny Arsenal. I did find some new information (well, new to me), but it is fairly safe to say that I have almost exhausted the information on that area. I interned at the History Center almost three years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed working in that kind of atmosphere. If only getting a job was as easy...

Here, some pictures from the Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation exhibit regarding the Allegheny Arsenal as well as Pittsburgh's involvement in the War in general. Pittsburgh was strategically important to the war effort because of its position at the headwaters of the Ohio River, which enabled supplies to be transferred to the midwest. The city's foundries and arsenal also turned out a lot of guns, ammunition, and other military supplies. So it's picture-heavy, kids.
These two dresses are in the Center's Special Collections, which has all sorts of cool items that everyday people in the Pittsburgh area from many different ethnic groups used. I am in serious lust with these Civil War era dresses, especially the green one. I would place these circa 1865 because the dresses both have a bit of a train going toward the back.

Sword made by Tiffany and Company, presented to General Alexander Hays, a Franklin, PA native who was a civil engineer in Pittsburgh, with a Zouave soldier carved into the handle.

Painting of Jane Grey Swisshelm, another Pittsburgh native who was an abolitionist as well as a journalist and nurse during the war. I believe she was the only female journalist to be present during the trial of the Lincoln assassination conspirators in 1865.

Broadside from the Pittsburgh Sanitary Fair in 1864. Sanitary fairs were held by chapters of the United States Sanitary Commission. This was a nationwide organization that raised money for supplies to care for soldiers, and was something with which women were heavily involved.

Martin R. Delany, a Pittsburgh native, doctor, and abolitionist who would become the highest ranking African American soldier during the war, as a major.

General Alexander Hays, whose sword is pictured above, and commanded the Third Division during the Gettysburg Campaign. He was killed during the Wilderness Campaign in 1864 and is buried in Allegheny Cemetery.

Replica of a 20-inch Rodman gun. It's plastic!

Types of balls used in larger cannons, including a 20-pounder.

Information about Colonel Thomas J. Rodman, who was in command of the Allegheny Arsenal for a time before assuming command of the Watertown Arsenal in Massachusetts. He was also an inventor, who invented the Rodman gun represented above.

Painting of the Pittsburgh Foundry, which turned out a lot of cannon and other items during the war.

Replica of a limber chest for an artillery piece, with a lot of artillery implements that also would have been manufactured at the Allegheny Arsenal. More of these are picture below.

Some of the types of artillery shells made at Allegheny Arsenal, including spherical case shot and solid shot.

A Remington .44 revolver and some small arms ammunition that would also have been made there.

Examples of cartridges that many women would have rolled, filled, and tied off.

Two pictures of women working in arsenals, 1860 and 1861, respectively.
An example of an 1859 McClellan saddle, made at the Arsenal in 1863. Yes, it was invented by General George McClellan.

Picture of a receipt from the Arsenal.

Picture of the Arsenal front, 1864.

All in all, a very busy and productive day. Every Western Pennsylvanian - no, everyone with interest in history - should go to the Heinz History Center.
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