Eagle Scout Project Highlights Bilharz Hall Rifle Factory

By Susan Worley, excerpted from The Star-Tribune, Chatham, Virginia, May 8, 2002, p. 5A. Used with permission.

Mitch Borley and Bilharz Hall Factory Marker

Mitch Borley recently completed an Eagle Scout project which commemorates the Bilharz Hall munitions factory that produced rifles for the Confederate Army from 1862 until 1864.

Hargrave Military Academy junior Mitch Borley dedicated a nomunent last Thursday to the Bilharz, Hall & Company Gun Works Factory in completion of his Eagle Scout project.

Borley is a member of Boy Scout Troop 68.

While helping his father, John, and local historian Herman Melton during the construction of Chatham's welcome center, Mitch learned about the Bilharz gun factory and its importance in linking Chatham to the Confederacy.

“I thought it might be a good idea for my Eagle Scout project,” he said. “I am very interested in preserving history.”

The factory was built in 1862 and made rifles for the Confederate Army until 1864.

At last Thursday's dedication ceremony, Borley said the iron supply was cut off, resulting in no materials for guns, and forcing the factory to close.

Funds for the project were contributed by the Pittsylvania Historical Society, Chatham First, and Chatham Rotary Club. He also thanked County Administrator Dan Sleeper, Herman Melton, County director of buildings and grounds Darrell Dalton, and Billy Simpson for their assistance.

The stone marker is located on the northwest corner of the gun factory site.

Borley is a junior at Hargrave and plans to attend school after graduated at the University of Florida with a major in public relations.

He is a fifth-year honor roll student and serves as platoon sergeant with Delta Company. He participates on Hargrave's cross country team and tennis team and is trained as a basic emergency medical technician.

Borley has been in scouts for three years.

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