James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
few. Railroad stocks had a sharp advance and the prices of the leading articles in the New York market rose steadily as measured in paper currency. Pig iron is often called the barometer of industrial activity: the production of it increased with regularity during the years 1862, 1863 and 1864 and its price rose in a still greater ratio. The average yearly price per ton of No. 1 anthracite foundry pig iron in Philadelphia was respectively $23.87, $35.25, $59.25. It was a period of money-making and accumulation of wealth. August Belmont wrote [May 7, 1863] of the eagerness with which, for the last two months, the people of all classes have invested their money in the securities of the government; for The North is united and prosperous. Harriet Beecher Stowe said, Old Hartford seems fat, rich and coseystocks higher than ever, business plentyeverything as tranquil as possible. John Sherman spoke of the wonderful prosperity of all classes, especially of laborers.1
The basis of prosperity in the United States was agriculture, and its steady growth at the North is one of the characteristics of the war. Despite the number of men who went into the army, good crops were made; the wheat crop was excellent during the years of the war and so was Indian corn, except for the partial failure in 1863. Three things saved the harvests, wrote Fite, the increased use of labor-saving machinery, the work of women in the fields and the continued influx of new population.2 The wide use of mowing, reaping and threshing machines and the horse rake increased six-fold the efficiency of the farm laborer.