Brigadier General Gorgas was born in Running Pumps, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1818 and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1841.
He held various assignments as an Ordnance officer in the U.S. Army before joining the Confederate Army to assume the duties as Chief of Ordnance. As the Chief, he quickly reviewed the situation and dispatched Confederate agents to British and European arms makers to purchase arms and munitions.
He concerned himself with the research, development, and supply of arms and ammunition. Using his administrative and organizing abilities, he single-handedly created the Ordnance Corps for the Confederate states.
His determination and dedication inspired General Robert E. Lee to tell an aide on the field at Appomattox: “Tell Gorgas if other departments had been conducted as was the Ordnance, I would not have been in such a strait as this.”
After the defeat of the Northern Virginia Army at Appomattox, Gorgas later became President of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. General Gorgas died on May 15, 1883.