The Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park is a beautiful setting that is located in the preserves of one of the most important of all of the Confederate industrial complexes.
The efforts of this facility played an absolutely huge role in the Confederate war effort, especially in the last few years.
Located at 240 Furnace Parkway in Brierfield Alabama, it is just off of old U.S. Highway 25, between the towns Montevallo and Centerville.
The admission is very family friendly as it is only $4.00 for adults, and $ 3.00 for seniors and children.
Because of its inexpensive price and its location just below Birmingham, it makes it one of the best and most popular of the Birmingham day trips.
In the year 1862, a group of five planters and mechanics erected a blast furnace in Bibb County, and they called themselves the Bibb County Iron Company.
They were directed in this project by Caswell Campbell Huckabee, an iron making neophyte.
He had very little experience, but this lack of experience was offset by his relationship with Newton Smith, a gorge operator at Six Mile.
There were three other major partners in this project.
They were Samuel Green Wilson, a planter who would serve as the furnace manager, J.D. Nance, a saw and grist operator, and Gray Huckabee, another planter in the area.
This inexperienced crew went to work and before long their brick furnace was erected was producing a very high grade of iron.
In fact, the quality was so high, that it not only surprised the new owners, it caught the attention of the Confederate Government.
In the year 1862, the Confederate government passed a law that would have an effect on this new business venture.
First, they would advance 50% of the construction costs of the manufacturing of “any vital ores, iron, or small arms”.
And second, they would, for the rights, advance one-third of the values of the contracts to cover the purchase of the coal and iron needed in the process.
So Mr. Huckabee, the superintendent, signed the agreement and it immediately obligated 1,000 tons of pig iron per year for three years.
This allowed them to finish erecting a rolling and operating mill.
For signing this contract with the Confederate government, his company received a huge signing sum of $20,000.
In the year 1863, the Confederate Government, under increasing pressure from the ongoing Civil War, told Huckabee that he could do one of three things.
On September 9, 1963, the Bibb County Iron Company sold the “works” to the Confederacy for $600,000.
The actual sell of the entire facility included nine slaves, seventy mules, forty oxen, twenty carts, twenty wheelbarrows, and over two hundred axes.
For the rest of the time that it existed, it was the only Ironworks Company ever owned by the Confederate Government.
After the sale, it was known as the Bibb Naval Facility.
The Confederate Government continued to operate the Bibb Naval Facility until March 31, 1865 when they were targeted by the Union army.
The Union army was on a huge and devastating raid through Alabama and Georgia that would become known as Wilsons Raid.
Before targeting this facility, they had already attacked and destroyed the Tannehill Ironworks in Birmingham.
The Confederated army attempted to defend the property, but they were outnumbered and out armed by the Union soldiers.
The fight did not last very long, and the facility was all but destroyed.
Today there are several sites on display at the Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park including the following.
The Brierfield Ironworks Historical State Park, because of its location, makes it one on the most popular of the Alabama backroads day trips.
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