In 1810 Major John Clarke and noted Richmond lawyer, William Wirt, established a weapons factory for the U.S. War Department on the south bank of the James River five miles north of here. Bellona Arsenal, (named for the Roman goddess of war,) was erected in 1816. After five years of disuse, it was leased to Thomas Mann Randolph in 1837 (for use as a silk worm farm.) Junius L. Archer bought the property in 1856, and on January 1, 1863, he leased both the arsenal and foundry to the Confederate government. Bellona Arsenal became one of Virginia's leading producers of arms.