Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883

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General and Chief of Ordnance for the Confederate States Army; later, president of the University of Alabama.

From the description of Extracts from my notes written chiefly soon after the close of the war, [ca. 1865]. (University of Arizona). WorldCat record id: 29452282

Born in Dauphin County, Pa., Josiah Gorgas graduated from West Point in 1841 and was assigned to the ordnance corps. He served in the Mexican-American War and was promoted to captain in 1855. In 1853, he married Amelia Gayle, daughter of former Alabama governor John Gayle. At the beginning of the Civil War, Gorgas followed his wife into secession, moving to Richmond, Va., where he became chief of ordnance in the Confederacy. After the war, Gorgas accepted a position at the newly established University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. In 1878 he was elected president of the University of Alabama.

From the description of Josiah Gorgas letter book, 1847 May-Dec. (Louisiana State University). WorldCat record id: 214282592

U.S. and later Confederate ordnance officer.

From the description of Josiah Gorgas papers, 1857-1878. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 23150393

Josiah Gorgas (1818-83) was born in Running Pumps, Pennsylvania, the youngest son of Joseph Gorgas and Sophia Atkinson Gorgas. From 1835 to 1841 he attended West Point, graduating sixth in a class of fifty-two. From 1841 to 1844 Gorgas served in the Ordnance Corps, U.S. Army at a variety of posts, then spent 1845 through 1846 in Europe on leave from the Army, before serving as chief ordnance officer in the Mexico City expedition of General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War. He was stationed primarily in Vera Cruz, Mexico. He returned to peacetime appointments in 1848 and served in numerous places until he resigned his commission in 1861. During this period he met his wife, Amelia Gayle, while stationed at Mount Vernon, Alabama. They were married in 1853. From 1861 to 1865 he served as Chief of Ordnance, Confederate States of America, first at Montgomery, Alabama then at Richmond. Immediately following the war Josiah investigated business opportunities in Greensboro, Alabama, before becoming president of the Brierfield Iron Works, near Ashby, Alabama. The business was unsuccessful, and in 1869 Gorgas was appointed headmaster of the Junior Department, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, later becoming vice-chancellor. He remained at Sewanee until 1878, when he was appointed President of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a post which he held for only a year before he was stricken with paralysis. He was then named Librarian and resided on campus, first in the President's Mansion, then in the Gorgas House. He died in Tuscaloosa. Amelia Ross Gayle Gorgas (1826-1913) was born in Greensboro, Alabama, the third child of John Gayle, judge on the Third Judicial Circuit Court, and Sarah Ann Haynsworth Gayle. In 1833 the family moved to the state capital, Tuscaloosa, upon John Gayle's election as Governor. In 1835 her mother died in Tuscaloosa. The children were entrusted to family members and friends, Amelia going to her mother's friend, Mrs. Alva Woods, and her husband, the president of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. In 1837 Amelia moved to Toulminville, north of Mobile, Alabama, to join her father and her reunited family, her father having married Clarissa Stedman Peck of Greensboro, Alabama. In 1841 Amelia attended Columbia Female Institute in Columbia, Tennessee. In 1842 she returned to Mobile. From 1847 to 1848 she accompanied her father, who had been elected U.S. Representative, to Washington, D.C. In 1849 she assumed care of three of her sister's children so that Sarah Gayle Crawford could accompany her husband William B. Crawford on travels to improve his health. In 1853 she again cared for the Crawford children by removing them from yellow fever exposure in Mobile to Mount Vernon, Alabama, where she met Josiah Gorgas. From 1856 to 1861 she and her children accompanied her husband to his successive appointments. During the Civil War, Amelia and the children remained with Josiah in Richmond except for part of 1862. Upon the fall of the Confederacy, she went with her children to Baltimore and then to Cambridge, Maryland, rejoining Josiah in 1866. In 1880 she assumed Josiah's duties as librarian of the University of Alabama, temporarily during his final illness, and permanently after his death in 1883. In 1886 she was also appointed postmistress of the University of Alabama. In 1905 she received a loving cup from the University of Alabama in recognition of her years of service. In 1907 Amelia retired with a pension from the Carnegie Foundation. She died in Tuscaloosa. John Gayle (1792-1859) was born in Sumter County, South Carolina. In 1813 he graduated from South Carolina College. In 1818 he began a law practice in Claiborne (Monroe County), Alabama, and the following year he married Sarah Ann Haynsworth. In 1822 he was elected representative from Monroe County to the state legislature. The following year he was elected Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama and moved with family to Greensboro, near the state capital, Tuscaloosa. In 1828 he resigned his judgeship and returned to law practice in Greensboro. In 1829 he was elected representative from Greene County to state legislature and was subsequently chosen as Speaker of the House. He moved to Tuscaloosa and in 1831 was elected governor of Alabama. In 1833 his family joined him in Tuscaloosa and he was re-elected governor, but his wife died two years later and the children were sent to live with family members and friends. John Gayle moved to Mobile, where, in 1837, he married Clarissa Stedman Peck ("Clara") of Greensboro, Alabama, and reunited his family in Toulminville, north of Mobile. In 1847 he was elected representative from Alabama to U.S. House of Representatives and the following year he was appointed judge of U.S. District Court for Alabama. He died at Mobile. Sarah Ann Haynsworth Gayle (1804-1835) was born in Sumter County, South Carolina. She married John Gayle in 1819 and they resided in Claiborne (Monroe County), Alabama, before moving to Greensboro, Alabama (1823), and Tuscaloosa (1833), where Sara, 7, died two years laters. Richard Haynsworth Gayle (1832-1873) was born in Greensboro, Alabama, the fifth child and second son of John Gayle and Sarah Haynsworth Gayle. Upon death of his mother, he was entrusted to the care of John Gayle's cousin Billups Gayle and his wife. In 1848 Richard entered the U.S. Naval Academy. He became a blockade runner during the Civil War and was captured by U.S. Navy forces in 1863 while in charge of the blockade runner Cornubia. He was subsequently imprisoned for a year at the Fort Warren federal prison in Boston Harbor. In 1864 he was released from prison and became commander of Confederate ship Stagg [Stag?], before again being captured and imprisoned. He was released after the end of the Civil War. In 1866 he married Flora Levy of New Orleans, where he died. Jessie Gorgas (1856-1925) was born in Mount Vernon, Alabama, the second child and first daughter of Josiah Gorgas and Amelia Gayle Gorgas. During her early life she accompanied her parents as Josiah was posted to a succession of appointments, and like them she spent most of the Civil War in Richmond. Upon the fall of the Confederacy, she went with her mother and the other children to Cambridge, Maryland before joining her father in 1866. In 1871 she enrolled in the Columbia Female Institute in Columbia, Tennessee. In 1873 she went to school in Monteagle, near Sewanee. Upon the death of her father (1883) and in light of her mother's increasing responsibilities at the University of Alabama, Jessie assumed more household duties and assisted her mother as hospital matron. She continued to reside in the Gorgas House on the University campus until her death. Mary Gayle (Mamie) Gorgas (1857-1944) was born at Kennebec Arsenal, Maine, the third child and second daughter of Josiah Gorgas and Amelia Gayle Gorgas. Her early years were spent in the same fashion as her sister Jessie. In 1873 she also attended Monteagle School. In 1878 she entered Columbia Female Institute in Columbia, Tennessee, and subsequently taught at Talladega, Alabama. Upon the death of her father and due to her mother's increasing responsibilities at the University of Alabama, Mamie returned to Tuscaloosa, where she assisted her mother as librarian. Upon her mother's retirement as librarian of the University of Alabama, Mamie continued on the library staff, and resided in the Gorgas House until her death. Christine Amelia "Minnie" Gorgas Palfrey (1859-1953) was born in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1877, Minnie became reacquainted with a friend from the Gorgas' Sewanee years, George deClouet Palfrey of St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana. They were married in 1881 and lived in Franklin Louisiana until George Palfrey's death in 1930. The Palfreys had three children: Jessie Gorgas Palfrey (1883-1971), William Taylor Palfrey (1885-1957), and Amelia Gayle ("Minnie") Palfrey (1888-1971). After her husband's death, Minnie moved to Tuscaloosa and lived with her younger sister, Ria, in the Gorgas home until her death in 1953. Maria Bayne (Ria) Gorgas (1861-1953) was born at Charleston, S.C., the fifth child and fourth daughter of Josiah Gorgas and Amelia Gayle Gorgas. In 1877 she attended boarding school [Columbia Female Institute in Columbia, Tennessee?], and in 1880 studied in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1886 she taught at Fairmont Female College in Monteagle, Tennessee, before entering nursing school in New York. After graduation she remained in New York to care for Amelia Lyon, a daughter of Josiah Gorgas's friend Francis Strother Lyon. She then became nurse-companion to Mary Leroy King of Newport, Rhode Island, whom she accompanied to Europe and remained with until Miss King's death in 1904. That year she retired and moved to the Gorgas House at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa to live with her mother and her sisters Jessie, Mary Gayle (Mamie), and Christine Amelia (Minnie). She continued to live in the Gorgas House until her death. Richard Haynsworth Gorgas (1864-1935) was born in Richmond, the youngest child and second son of Josiah Gorgas and Amelia Gayle Gorgas. In 1870 he attended grammar school at Sewanee, Tennessee. In 1884 he graduated from the University of Alabama. He received his law degree in 1890 and worked in New York prior to World War One, in which he served as Captain. He continued in government service until his retirement in 1931. He died at Birmingham.

From the guide to the Josiah and Amelia Gorgas Family papers MSS. 0580., 1820-1920, (W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama)

Josiah Gorgas was born in Pennsylvania in 1818 and was graduated from West Point in 1841. He worked for the United States Army in the ordnance department from 1841 to 1861 and was stationed at Augusta, Me., from January 1857 until June 1858. He was transferred that June to Charleston Arsenal where he remained until July 1860, when he was moved to Frankford Arsenal near Philadelphia.

In 1861, Gorgas was stationed in Richmond, Va., as Chief of Confederate Ordnance. He was made brigadier-general in 1864. After the war, Gorgas managed the Brierfield Iron Works in Alabama until 1867. He worked at the University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn., from 1869 to 1877 as professor of engineering and vice-chancellor. He was president of the University of Alabama, 1877-1878. In 1878, he resigned due to poor health and moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he died that year.

From the guide to the Josiah Gorgas Papers, ., 1857-1878, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Extracts from my notes written chiefly soon after the close of the war. U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center
creatorOf Huger, Benjamin, 1805-1877. Papers of Benjamin Huger [manuscript], 1780-1877 (bulk 1821-1877). University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Aiken, Hugh Kerr, 1822-1865. Hugh Kerr Aiken papers, 1832-1866. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Extracts from my notes written chiefly soon after the close of the war, [ca. 1865]. University of Arizona Libraries
referencedIn Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Commandery of the State of Massachusetts Civil War collection, 1724-1933 (inclusive);, 1861-1912 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Brierfield Ironworks records MSS. 0212., Bulk, 1866-1882, 1864-1897 W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama
referencedIn Branch, Lawrence O'Bryan, 1820-1862. Papers of Lawrence O'Bryan Branch [manuscript], 1840-1913. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf United States. Army. Orders : U.S. Army : 1846-1848 / Gorgas, J. University of Texas at Arlington, Central Library
referencedIn William Crawford Gorgas Papers, 1857-1919, (bulk 1904-1913) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. U. S. Army Siege Train orders, 1846-1848. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Henry Bohlen Confederate Letters, 1862
creatorOf Browning, Robert, 1812-1889,. American and English literary and historical papers collected by Atcheson L. Hench [manuscript] 1832-1953. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Letter to Socrates Maupin [manuscript] 1862 July 30. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Edward Calvin Crow correspondence MSS. 0378., 1952 University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama
referencedIn Chesnut, James, 1815-1885. James Chesnut letters, 1850-1862. South Carolina Historical Society, SCHS
creatorOf Johnston, Joseph E. (Joseph Eggleston), 1807-1891. Papers, 1825-1891. William & Mary Libraries
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Extracts from my notes : written chiefly soon after the close of the war / by General Josiah Gorgas. Hardin-Simmons University, Richardson Library
creatorOf Rosecrans, William S. (William Starke), 1819-1898. Letters. United States Military Academy, USMA Library
referencedIn Ballinger (William Pitt) Papers BALLINGER, WILLIAM PITT., 1815-1909 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
creatorOf Josiah Gorgas Papers, ., 1857-1878 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf Brayton, Mary Clark. Civil War miscellany, 1860-1875. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
referencedIn Telegrams sent to governors of South Carolina, 1861-1864. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Allyn, Joseph Tyler, 1840-. Papers of Joseph T. Allyn, 1861-1911. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Leonidas Polk family papers, 1825-1939 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Ballinger, William Pitt, 1825-1888. Ballinger, William Pitt, papers, 1815-1909. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
creatorOf Josiah and Amelia Gorgas Family papers MSS. 0580., 1820-1920 W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, The University of Alabama
referencedIn John E. Curry Collection MSS. 0386., 1846-1864 University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Letter, 1863 Sep. 9, Richmond, Va. [to] Maj. Rennard, Morton, Mississippi. United States Military Academy, USMA Library
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Letter, 1861 Apr. 26, Montgomery, Ala., to Col. Edward Manigault. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
creatorOf Huger, Benjamin, 1805-1877. Papers of Benjamin Huger, 1780-1877 (bulk 1821-1877). University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Andrew, John A. (John Albion), 1818-1867,. Lee family papers [microform] 1652 [1769-1870] 1890. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Confederate States of America Records 66-26; 95-094; 98-025; 2009-318., 1856-1915 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin .
referencedIn Rains, George Washington, 1817-1898. George Washington Rains papers, 1843-1949 (bulk 1843-1864) [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Confederate States of America. Confederate States of America records, 1856-1915. University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Huger, Cleland Kinloch, 1818-1892. Cleland Kinloch Huger papers, 1731-1932. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
referencedIn Brannon, Peter A. (Peter Alexander), 1882-1967. South Around to Cross Ellicott's Line: photographic scrapbook, 1938. Alabama Department of Archives and History
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Josiah Gorgas papers, 1857-1878. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Gorgas, Josiah, 1818-1883. Josiah Gorgas letter book, 1847 May-Dec. Louisiana State University, LSU Libraries
creatorOf Benjamin, J. P. (Judah Philip), 1811-1884. Henry Bohlen Confederate letters 1862. Florida State University
referencedIn Leigh Papers, 1868-1916 University of West Florida Libraries
creatorOf U. S. Army Siege Train orders, 1846-1848 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Stockham, Robert J. The Selma Naval Foundry [manuscript] : accomplishments and problems : an address before the Alabama Historical Association, ca. 1967. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Clifton, Michele. Gorgas Tree, 2011. Buffalo History Museum, Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Aiken, Hugh Kerr, 1822-1865. person
associatedWith Allyn, Joseph Tyler, 1840- person
associatedWith Ballinger, William Pitt, 1825-1888 person
associatedWith Baton Rouge Arsenal (La.) corporateBody
associatedWith Branch, Lawrence O'Bryan, 1820-1862. person
associatedWith Brannon, Peter A. (Peter Alexander), 1882-1967. person
associatedWith Brierfield Iron Works (Ala.) corporateBody
associatedWith Charleston and Savannah Railroad. corporateBody
associatedWith Chesnut, James, 1815-1885. person
associatedWith Clifton, Michele. person
associatedWith Confederate States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Confederate States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Confederate States of America. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Confederate States of America. Ordnance Bureau. corporateBody
associatedWith Created by Henry Bohlen person
associatedWith Crow, Edward Calvin, 1866-1956 person
associatedWith Gorgas, Amelia Gayle, 1826-1913 person
associatedWith Gorgas, William Crawford, 1854-1920 person
associatedWith Huger, Benjamin, 1805-1877. person
correspondedWith Huger, Cleland Kinloch, 1818-1892. person
associatedWith Jamison, David Flavel, 1810-1864. person
associatedWith Johnston, Joseph E. (Joseph Eggleston), 1807-1891. person
correspondedWith Leigh family family
correspondedWith Manigault, Edward, 1817-1874 person
associatedWith Marshall, John H. person
associatedWith Maupin, S. (Socrates), 1808-1871. person
correspondedWith Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Massachusetts, collector. corporateBody
associatedWith Polk, Leonidas, 1806-1864 person
associatedWith Rains, George Washington, 1817-1898. person
associatedWith Rennard, J. M., fl. 1863. person
associatedWith Rosecrans, William S. (William Starke), 1819-1898. person
associatedWith South Carolina. Governor, recipient. corporateBody
associatedWith Stockham, Robert J. person
associatedWith United States. Army. corporateBody
associatedWith University of the South corporateBody
associatedWith Vinton, David Hammond, 1803-1873 person
associatedWith Whiteley, Robert Henry Kirkwood. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Confederate States of America
South Carolina
Pennsylvania--Dauphin County
United States
Alabama
Confederate States of America
Veracruz (Veracruz-Llave, Mexico)
Augusta (Me.)
Richmond (Va.)
South Carolina
Subject
Railroads--History--19th century
Iron industry and trade--History--19th century
Women
Southern Life and Culture
Ordnance--Manufacture
War and Military
Mexican War, 1846-1848
Mexican War, 1846-1848--Campaigns
Diaries (Blank-books)
Mexican War, 1846-1848--Campaigns--United States
Artillery--History--19th century
University of Alabama
Occupation
Soldiers--Pennsylvania--Dauphin County
Function

Person

Birth 1818-07-01

Death 1883-05-15

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