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The assorted cargo of hardware shipped aboard the SS Republic—keys and lock plates, doorknobs and door hinges, along with spigots, scissors, and files—offers a rare glimpse of the flood of housing materials and other fixtures packed into the steamer’s cargo holds for dispatch to New Orleans.

These goods were presumably intended for a wholesale or retail merchant hoping to rebuild a former trade or launch a new business. Such items may also have been heading for further trans-shipment to destinations along the Mississippi River and the outposts of the Western Frontier. Today these century-old goods represent an important part of the heritage of hardware that helped shape and build our country following the American Civil War.