BGHF funded this plaque in recognition of Rhys Davies, an engineer from Tredegar who is said to have changed American history.
Rhys left south Wales in 1833 to help build Tredegar Ironworks in Richmond, Virginia, which was named in his honour. This Ironworks extended the American Civil War by giving the Confederate South a huge arsenal. It later provided materials and jobs to rebuild the South after the war.
Rhys is said to have lived and trained in Tredegar from 1800 as an engineer and millwright. Some years later he worked with one of Napoleon’s former marshals in France who was building an ironworks there.
His life story may never have become apparent if it was not for a small article in a Hereford-based newspaper which stated that a Rhys Davies from Tredegar in south Wales had died in Richmond Virginia in 1838.
The American Civil War Centre now stands on the site of the Tredegar Ironworks in Virginia, where Rhys Davies is better known. He died before the civil war started but the Works he designed had a very big impact.