Unlike the Union, the South had few factories. As a result, Texas and
the Confederacy faced a critical shortage of firearms. Only a trickle
of guns could be smuggled through the Union blockade of the coast. The
Texas government decided to encourage the production of firearms at
James Henry Dance and his brothers established J. H. Dance and
Company in 1858, manufacturing gristmills and cotton gins. After the
Civil War broke out in 1861, the company also began producing firearms.
Because of the Confederacy's high demand for firearms, the company's
employees were granted exemption from military service. Over the next
few years the company produced 300–400 revolvers. One of the last known
shipments of Dance revolvers, 25 pistols, was sent to Houston in April
1865. When the war ended shortly thereafter, the Dances returned to
Columbia to again manufacture gristmills and cotton gins.