The War MachineGo Back
St. Louis quickly affirmed its identity as a Northern city by using its industrial power in the war effort. James B. Eads's shipyards at Carondelet and Mound City, Illinois, produced the majority of the Union's ironclad gunboats. His commitment to fulfilling government contracts in a minimum amount of time created a frantic pace that put a strain on local carpenters and ironworkers, but they were grateful to have the work. With a crucial role in supporting the Union military strategy, the ironclads patrolled the western waters, fought in battles, and ultimately helped secure the Mississippi River for the Union.
Other St. Louis businesses received contracts to produce military goods. To fill an order for 1,000 rifles, gunsmith Horace E. Dimick acquired weapons from other dealers in addition to making his own. J. B. Sickles & Company, manufacturer of saddles and related hardware, received contracts for more than 40,000 various pieces of soldiers' gear and horse equipment. Giles F. Filley, an ardent Unionist, used his Excelsior Stove Works to manufacture small cannons. Many soldiers purchased items such as camp chests and field desks from Warne, Cheever & Company.