Highlights from Previous Speakers
October 7, 2014: Wade P. Catts
Some points from Mr. Catts’ interesting and informative talk at Washington Memorial Chapel:
- The Continental Power Works and Gun Factory were located in East Pikeland Township
- This project was largely funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program
- In the early years of the Revolutionary War, all gun powder was imported
- January 1776 - it was decided a powder works would be built on an East Pikeland property
- February 1776 – Congress approved funding for the powder works
- June 1776 – powder works operational
- December 1776 – gun factory built on site, also barracks
- March 1777 – powder works explodes, probably by accident
- 22 September 1777 – French Creek gun factory torched by British. Several thousand weapons destroyed.
- Ingredients for gun powder: sulfur, charcoal, saltpeter (potassium nitrate)
- Before 1984, thinking was that little could be learned from battlefields. Investigations at Little Big Horn, where the path of individual weapons were traced, changed all that.
- This investigation of the powder works project used soil cores, trenching, metal detection, magnetic gradiometry, hand excavation, and ground penetrating radar.
- Evidence was found of the powder mill, graining mill, salt peter house, drying houses, gun factory, stamping mill, store houses, barracks, and raceway, as well as other buildings.
- Today you can take a walking tour of this important early industrial complex. Signage explains the various sites.