Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 6, 1864 (Tuesday): Swords or Plows? Day 1000 of the War

Governor T. H. Watts

Montgomery, January 6, 1864.

Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
    SIR: Unless the planting interest in the South can be carried on successfully the armies of the Confederacy cannot be supported. Without iron the planting interests cannot be profitably carried on.
Alabama has an immense quantity of iron ore, and many of her people are making iron, but all or nearly all have contracts with the Confederate Government to deliver all they make to the Government authorities. The Consequence is that the planters, even in the best iron regions of the State, cannot get enough iron to make and repair their agricultural implements. Now, sir, the object of this communication is to ask that the contractors be authorized to sell to planters some of the iron they make. I have numbers of letters showing the necessity for such instructions to your contractors and agents. It is useless to enlarge on a subject which must be fully appreciated at a glance by the Secretary of War. Will you grant this right?
     I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

     T. H. WATTS,
     Governor of Alabama.

Official Records, Series IV., Vol. 3., Part 1, Pages 3-4.

Resources were scarce throughout the south.  So much so that farmers were not able to obtain replacement implements.  Watts had been Attorney General of the Confederate States and now, as governor, was using his connections to try and get relief for farmers in Alabama.  Watts, himself, had been a planter and large slaveholder before the war.


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