Brierfield Ironworks
The complex provided iron for
Selma's cannon and ironclad
production facilities.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park, Alabama
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park, Alabama
Brierfield Ironworks
Now part of a beautiful state park, the Brierfield
Ironworks complex was a major Civil War industry in
Bibb County, Alabama.
Mulberry Church
Now on display at Brierfield,
the historic Mulberry Church
was built in 1897 and was
used until 1942. It is popular
for weddings.
Hayes/Morton Inn
Built as a farmhouse in circa
1900, the house now serves
as a two suite inn at Brierfield
Ironworks Historical State
Park.
19th Century Log Cabin
The park has restored and
modernized two log cabins
built in the 1800s. They are
now available for overnight
stays.
Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park - Brierfield, Alabama
Skirmish at Brierfield Ironworks
Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park is a
beautiful setting that preserves the ruins of
an important Confederate industrial complex.

The Brierfield facility provided high quality
iron that factory workers in Selma used to
cast cannon and built ironclad vessels like
the C.S.S.
Tennessee. As a result, the
ironworks along Furnace Creek played a
critical part in the Confederate war effort,
especially during the final years of the War
Between the States.

The ironworks got their start in 1862 when a
group of private investors started the Bibb
County Iron Company. Initially serving local
customers with a need for iron, the Brierfield
furnace soon began supplying iron for the
Confederate government. The iron produced
by the operation proved to be of perfect
quality for use in casting heavy cannon. The
Confederate government attempts to contract
for 100% of the output of the ironworks, but
the owners declined.

This led to a government takeover of the
Brierfield Ironworks in 1863, and the facility
quickly became known as the Bibb Naval
Furnaces.

Supervised by Major W.R. Hunt of the C.S.
Nitre and Mining Bureau, workers at Brierfield
soon added a second furnace and rolling
mill. The government-built furnace was
40-feet tall and produced high quality iron for
delivery to Selma, Alabama, where it was
used to cast heavy Brooke cannon and
plating for Confederate ironclads.
(Please
click here to see a Brooke cannon and
photos of the Selma-built ironclad C.S.S.
Tennessee.)

The Brierfield Ironworks operated on a large
scale until March 31, 1865, when they were
targeted as part of
Wilson's Raid through
Alabama and Georgia.

Having already destroyed the ironworks at
today's
Tannehill Historical State Park near
Birmingham, along with other iron production
facilities in the region, the Union troops of
Major General James H. Wilson pushed
south and occupied Montevallo, Alabama.
Colonel Frederick Benteen was sent with the
10th Missouri Cavalry to demolish the
operation at Brierfield.

Arriving within view of the ironworks, Benteen
and his men found them defended by a
regiment of Confederate cavalry from the
command of General Phillip D. Roddey.

The Union colonel ordered an immediate
attack, opening what is remembered as the
Skirmish or Battle of Brierfield Ironworks. The
fighting did not last long as the 10th Missouri
broke the Confederate line and quickly took
possession of the ironworks and other
facilities.
As Confederate troops watched from the
distance, the Brierfield operation went up in
flames. The Bibb Naval Ironworks would cast
no more iron for the Confederacy.

The facilities were rebuilt after the war and
operated for a time under the direction of
Josiah Gorgas, the Confederacy's former
Chief of Ordnance. The company failed, but
Gorgas would go on to become President of
the University of Alabama. Another company
took over and Brierfield again produced iron
until the furnaces went cold for the last time
in 1894, replaced by facilities in
Birmingham.

The site today is a beautiful state park that
also features other historic buildings, cabins,
picnic areas, walking trails, a lodge, camping
and much more.
Please click here to visit the
park's official website for more information.

Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park is
located at 240 Furnace Parkway in Brierfield,
Alabama and is just off Highway 25 between
Montevallo and Centreville. Admission is $2
for adults, $1 for seniors and children 6-11.
Be sure to see the
Absalom Pratt House at
the entrance.

If you are interested in learning more about
the Civil War iron industry in Alabama, be
sure to visit our page on
Tannehill Ironworks
Historical State Park near Birmingham. That
park is also the site of the
Alabama Iron and
Steel Museum, which traces the evolution of
the industry from its early to modern times.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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