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Lot 297: 1861 Civil War Letter Regarding Gun Carriages USS Monitor Shipyard in New York!
29 October 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Civil War Union Letters
1861 Civil War Letter Regarding Gun Carriages USS Monitor Shipyard at Greenpoint (now Brooklyn) New York
October 19, 1861-Dated Civil War Period, Letter Regarding Gun Carriages, Greenpoint, New York, the Ironclad USS Monitor Shipyard, Choice Extremely Fine.
This October 19, 1861-Dated, Excellent historic content, Manuscript Letter is Signed by William Borden, New York Navy Yard (Greenpoint, at the exact time the Ironclad Monitor was being built in the yard), 4 pages, boldly written in deep brown, measuring 5" x 8" on white wove period paper. William Borden has written to the Providence Tool and Armory regarding slides for the 30 and 32 pounder Parrott Gun Carriages. He explains that, "Mr Rowland was so hurried day before yesterday that he did not have time to make a sketch for the work for the one 30 pd Parrot Gun..." Goes on to say he had tried to see Capt Bell to get another order so that work could continue, but had failed to see him. A truly remarkable Ironclad USS Monitor related military ordinance letter.
In 1859, Thomas Fitch Rowland established the Continental Works at Green Point (now Brooklyn), New York. When the Civil War began, Rowland's company was engaged by John Ericsson to build a shot-proof steam battery which Ericsson would later name Monitor.
Construction of the Ironclad began in October 1861 and the Monitor was launched on January 30, 1862. During the course of the Civil War, the Continental Works built seven more ironclad turret ships for the U.S. Navy including Passaic and Montauk.
The Providence Tool Company was the outgrowth of the business ventures of two brothers. In 1834, Joseph and Jeremiah Arnold began manufacturing nuts and washers in Pawtucket. When Joseph retired, Jeremiah joined William Field, named their business William Field & Co., and moved to Providence in 1846. In April 1847 the name was changed to the Providence Tool Company.
The company is known for its ammunition production. However, in its early years, it primarily made hammers, pick axes, marlinspikes, nuts, and bolts. In 1856 it merged with the Providence Forge and Nut Company. The Providence Tool Company was successful in supplying machine parts and tools across the nation.
The Civil War created a demand for companies to make munitions for the Union Army. The Providence Tool Company took up the call and began weapons manufacturing in 1861. The Company hired Frederick W. Howe, a former supervisor at the Robbins and Lawrence Armory in Windsor, Vermont, to help start the manufacturing of arms.