Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology




The Northeast Texas Archeological Society, in conjunction with the East Texas, Dallas, and Tarrant County archeological societies, reinstated archaeological investigations at the Marshall Powder Mill (41HS17) in 1994 following several years of delicate negotiations with the landowner about the value of preserving this archaeological site. The Marshall Powder Mill manufactured gunpowder, small arms and cannon, and refurbished weaponry, and was one of several arsenals that served the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate States of America from 1863 to 1865. None have been thoroughly investigated archaeologically, however, thereby ignoring a major aspect of the Confederacy's war effort, and an important industrial enterprise.

Building foundations, earthworks, roads, and an artificial channel race remain essentially undisturbed within the Loop 390 corridor and the privately-owned portions of the site; the eastern one-third of the site has been destroyed by a modern lumber mill. Although the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, there is no concerted plan for preservation of this Civil War military-industrial complex.

Little historical documentation exists as to the number and types of buildings, their locations, or the activities that were conducted at the Marshall Powder Mill. The single map in the National Archives was captured by Federal troops in 1864, and only indicates a few of the buildings and none of the earthworks. Apparently the Confederates were concerned with security, and the commander, Major George D. Alexander, destroyed or removed all records prior to Federal occupation of the site in 1865. Therefore, the archaeological remains speak the clearest about the Marshall Powder Mill's buildings and their functions, and may be the only sure means of reconstructing the layout and design of the arsenal, as well as ancillary fortifications, buildings, and structures around Marshall that date to the Civil War period.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



Tell us how this article helped you.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.