The captains take different departments of duty in such mines as are sufficiently extensive to require it. The principal or managing captain has the superintendence of the whole, and gives his attention to every thing that may demand it, either underground or on the surface.
Most of the other captains are employed in viewing and controlling the operations of the miners, and are called underground captains; they regularly visit different parts of the mine for this purpose, by night as well as by day, relieving each other in turn. They assist the managing captain in valuing the various prices of work to be offered to the men, and enforce the due performance of the contracts made with them. Their opinion is most important on all questions relating to the operations to be pursued, whether for discovery or for the best means of working what is already discovered; and they possess generally so much knowledge of practical mechanics applicable to mining, as to be able to direct in all common cases what is necessary to be done in the erection or repair of much of the machinery employed.
A grass captain or dresser is appointed, who has charge of the processes going on at the surface, and who regulates every thing relating to the preparation of the ores for sale.
The captains are assisted in other departments by an engineer who often superintends the engines of several mines, and by clerks to keep the accounts. They have likewise under them a pitman, who looks after the pumpwork in the shafts, and the underground machinery in general, a timberman or binder, who takes care that the ground is properly secured by supports of wood, and that the casings and ladders in the shafts are well put in, and kept in good repair.
The establishment of a mine likewise includes often a material
2 r 2