Confederate Ovens at the Rotunda

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22902


According to a published history of the University of Virginia's Rotunda, "two small ovens were discovered during the 1970s restoration of the Rotunda, confirming that the lower east oval room was the site of early chemistry classes. Legend has it that in order to sustain the oven for chemistry experiments, the student holding the lowest grade in the class was chosen to operate a set of bellows located outside the building." It is also reported that these ovens were used to produce gunpowder for the Confederacy. The University of Virginia was one of only two colleges to remain open throughout the Civil War.



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