Catoctin Iron Furnace

Catoctin Iron Furnace (HMBZ)

Location: Thurmont, MD 21788 Frederick County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 34.419', W 77° 25.864'

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No Time For War

Gettysburg Campaign
When Union Gen. John F. Reynolds' I Corps marched by here on June 29, 1863, en route to Emmitsburg and soon to Gettysburg, his men were progressing "swimmingly." The workers of the Catoctin Furnace had little time to notice, since the charcoal furnaces were in full blast.

The landscape then looked much different than it does today. The air was filled with smoke and ash and smelled like rotten eggs, while temperatures inside the casting sheds reached upwards of 120 degrees. The mountainside was barren because it took an acre of trees a day to produce the charcoal needed to keep one furnace in blast. Large pits had been dug around the area to mine the valuable iron ore, and there were large piles of slag, the byproduct of iron making, scattered in every direction.

During the Civil War, John Baker Kunkel owned Catoctin Furnace. With two furnaces in operation, production was never interrupted during the war, and the furnace workers shipped three tons of pig iron a day east to the larger arsenals and forges that made war material. Iron produced here was used in the manufacturing of ironclad ships like USS Monitor. Employees worked around the clock in 12-hour shifts, earning credit at the company store. According to local tradition, lost and disoriented soldiers from both sides making their way south after the Battle of Gettysburg were offered jobs here because of the chronic labor shortage.
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 9:04pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 291188 N 4383261
Decimal Degrees39.57365000, -77.43106667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 34.419', W 77° 25.864'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 34' 25.14" N, 77° 25' 51.84" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 6802 Blacks Mill Rd, Thurmont MD 21788, US
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