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Could George Washington's Army have made gunpowder on their own?

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I was watching a documentary that said the American colonist, or UK colonist, had to import all gunpowder? They could make glass.

They could have made sulfur, right? They could make charcoal I believe. I think potassium nitrate from horse urine or bat dung I saw from one

source.  Why could they make gunpowder instead of importing it? Could a chemist help me here? Maybe it would have taken a great effort

to make enough for the whole army, but they could have had farmers from all over the place pithing in to make the ingredients. 








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They could to an extent actually. The link below covers it well. Had issues of an incomplete understanding of the chemistry, quality and a sudden demand; which all contributed to the need for imports.



As we know from our history books, the War for Independence began with the shots fired at Lexington and Concord. Those shots required gunpowder, a substance that was in short supply throughout the colonies. In 1775 there was only one American gunpowder mill, the Frankford Mill in Pennsylvania, and it was turning out a miniscule amount compared to what would be needed to wage a successful war.[1] In addition, this mill was not turning out the high-quality powder needed for artillery use. If the Patriots were going to have any chance of victory, the colonies needed to step up production or import it. Had it not been for the French assistance in supplying the Americans with gunpowder from 1776 throughout the war, American forces would not have been able to fight and win the battles that they did.

Gunpowder is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate that must be combined in specific ratios. While this sounds simple enough, it must be remembered that in 1775 the state of chemistry was rudimentary. Potassium nitrate itself is a compound of nitrogen and potassium, neither element of which had been identified at that point in time.[2] What they did know was that what they called “nitre” was needed, which, in some recipes, involved soaking soil in urine from both animals and humans, and then allowing it to dry. The dried urine-soil was then boiled to produce saltpeter. Not all recipes agreed with this method which added to the problems in making gunpowder. Unfortunately this required half a year or more to produce nitre-bearing soil and created a bottleneck in the production of gunpowder in America.




Edited by Endy0816
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An army tends to move around, and as Endy's link shows, you need expertise, time, and resources to make gunpowder. Could Washington's army make gunpowder? Probably not. Could the colonies? Yes, but they weren't making enough.

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