Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/83
Confederate Ordnance Department. 73
quired a vast supply of powder (there was no immediate want of pro- jectiles) to furnish even the scant allowance of fifty rounds to each gun. I think we may safely estimate that on the ist of January, 1862, there were 1,500 sea coast guns of various calibres in position, from Evansport on the Potomac to Fort Brown on the Rio Grande. If we average their calibre at thirty-two pounders, and the charge at five pounds, it will at forty rounds per gun, give us 6co,ooo pounds of powder for these. The field-artillery — say 300 guns — with 200 rounds to the piece, would require, say 125,000 pounds, and the small arm cartridges, 10,000,000, would consume 125,000 pounds more — making in all 850,000 pounds. If we deduct 250,000 pounds, sup- posed to be on hand, in various shapes, at the beginning of the war, we have an increment of 600,000 pounds. Of this, perhaps 200,000 pounds had been made at the Tennessee and other mills, leaving 400,000 to have been supplied through the blockade, and before the commencement of actual hostilities.
The site of the Government Powder-Mills was fixed at Augusta, Georgia, on the report of Colonel Rains, and progress was made on the work in this year. There were two large buildings, in the Nor- man (castellated) style of architecture; one contained the refinery and store-rooms — the other being the mills, twelve in number. They were arranged in the best way on the canal which supplied water- power to Augusta. This canal served as the means of transport for the material from point to point of its manufacture, though the mills were driven by steam. All the machinery, including the very heavy rollers, was made in the Confederate States. The various qualities of powder purchased, captured and produced were sources of irregu- larity in the ranges of our artillery and small arms— unavoidably so of course. We were only too glad to take any sort of powder ; and we bought some brought into Florida, the best range of which scarcely exceeded one hundred and sixty yards with the cprouvette.
Contracts were made abroad for the delivery of nitre through the blockade, and for producing it at home from caves. The amount of the latter delivered by contracts was considerable — chiefly in Ten- nessee.
The consumption of lead was in part met by the Virginia lead mines ( Wytheville), the yield from which was from 100,000 to 150,- 000 pounds per month. A laboratory for the smelting of other ores, from the Silver Hill mines. North Carolina, and Jonesboro, East Ten- nessee, was put up at Petersburg, under the direction of Dr. Piggott, of Baltimore. It was very well constructed ; was capable of smelting a good many thousand pounds per day, and was in operation before