of all military duty, except, perhaps, local guard duty. The number actually employed is about 425, about 300 less than were employed say twelve months since. Defection from service in the local forces and losses on the battle-field have thus greatly reduced our force of workmen. By General Order No. 82, over 700 men were placed in the ranks. Of these, perhaps, one-half were competent mechanics, many of them valuable for the service of the armories.
The product could not at once be raised to the maximum figures above indicated, but could with the 800 additional workmen be so raised, allowing for the time it would take to teach and organize them.
For our cavalry arms we have chiefly to rely on importations, although pistols are being made at several points with success. Want of workmen alone prevents additional results.
Sabres can be produced in sufficient numbers and of pretty good quality by the detail of a very few workmen from the field.
2d. As to powder— The manufacturing capacity at the disposal of the Bureau is ample for all purposes, viz:
|Augusta Mills||5,000||lbs, per day.|
|Richmond Mills (in a few weeks)||1,500||"|
There is besides a private mill at Charlotte, North Carolina, and an excellent mill belonging to the Navy Department at Columbia, South Carolina. The products could be nearly doubled by running the mills day and night.
The quantity of small arms ammunition in the hands of the troops in the field is about eighty to ninety rounds to the man. The most obstinate and protracted battles, such as Chancellorsville and Gettysburg exhibit an expenditure of about twenty-five rounds per man for the former battle and about thirty rounds per man for the latter. The quantity of small arms ammunition on hand at the several arsenals and depots shows an aggregate of 5,376,034 small arm cartridges on the 12th November.
There are 50,480 rounds ofand seacoast projectiles and 133,962 rounds of field artillery ammunition on hand same date. No uneasiness is felt on this head, provided the supply of powder (dependent on saltpetre) is kept up. As to the means of keeping up the supply of saltpetre, and the date in reference to production and importation, I beg leave to refer you to the Nitre and Mining Bureau.
The chief detriment the operations of the Bureau has had has arisen from interference with its workmen for military purposes.
(Signed)J. Gorgas, Brigadier-General,
Chief of Ordnance.