Gorgas, Josiah

Gorgas, Josiah

(gôr`gəs), 1818–83, chief of ordnance in the Confederate army during the American Civil War, b. Dauphin co., Pa.; father of William Crawford Gorgas. He was commissioned in the ordnance corps and served in the Mexican War. In Apr., 1861, he resigned his Union commission and was appointed major and chief of ordnance in the Confederate army, rising to the rank of brigadier general in 1864. The Confederacy's supply of arms was dangerously low and manufacturing facilities almost nonexistent. Although Gorgas sent purchasing agents to Europe, no shipments were received before 1862. Despite the enormous difficulties, however, Gorgas built up the South's war machine and supplied munitions to the Confederate armies until the war's end. In 1869 he joined the faculty of the Univ. of the South, becoming vice chancellor in 1872. He was named president of the Univ. of Alabama in 1878.

Bibliography

See biography by F. E. Vandiver (1952).

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Gorgas, Josiah

(1818–83) soldier; born in Dauphin County, Pa. While in command of the U.S. arsenal near Mobile, Ala., he married an Alabama girl; meanwhile, he had come to loathe abolitionists, and with the secession he resigned his commission and joined the Confederate army as chief of ordnance. He set up a series of arsenals and organized the production of arms and ammunition so that Confederate forces were amazingly well supplied to the very end of the war. From 1869–78, he taught engineering at the University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.); elected president of the University of Alabama in 1878, he never served because of poor health.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.