This week’s #MarkerMonday looks at The Tonge Factory historical marker in Decatur County, and its use during the Civil War. The textile mill was purchased by S. D. Tonge prior to the war and operated to provide cloth for use by the Confederate Army. This factory, along with others, provided materials for the army while also providing jobs for the home front.
The South’s economy was primarily focused on agriculture, and it could not compete with the developing manufacturing industries in the North. While the South could produce raw materials, these had to be sent to Northern states or other countries to be manufactured into finished commercial products, such as cotton textiles. The National Park Service notes that “by 1860, 90 percent of the nation’s manufacturing output came from northern states.” These differences started to come into play during the Civil War. The Confederacy was left with little production and mobilization ability, crippling its war effort against the industrialized United States.
The women of Bainbridge used the cloth from the Tonge Factory to sew uniforms for the Confederate soldiers in Decatur County. The factory also produced linens, rope, and cotton yarn that was given to people in need within the community. When Macon City Hall was converted to Macon Hospital, Mr. Tonge also provided the institution with enough cotton to make 1,200 mattresses for its patients.
Explore the links below to learn more: